2006: The Dansey Flag

The Revolutionary War Dansey Flag, which belonged to a unit of Delaware militia in New Castle County, is one of the Society’s great treasures, and 2006 was a big year in its long life.

Its story began in September 1777 when Captain William Dansey of the British army captured it shortly before the Battle of the Brandywine.  For a variety of reasons, we believe that the flag was never used in battle: it has no tears, it did not have any regimental emblem added to it, and fold marks can still be detected in it. Dansey took it back to England as a trophy, and it hung in the family home for many years.  In 1927, the Society was able to purchase the flag, along with Dansey’s letters home from his service in America.  Once back in Delaware, the flag hung in a place of honor in Old Town Hall for many years.  The flag and letters are a wonderful combination of Revolutionary War documentation, and are very popular with researchers.

Years of display in honored but less than optimal conditions left the flag fragile.  In 2006, the flag was conserved and placed in a pressure mount that allows it to be safely moved and exhibited.  This treatment was similar to what the Society’s 1st Regiment Civil War flags will receive in 2015. Once returned from conservation, the flag was presented in a public exhibition.  The conservation and exhibition were made possible by grants from the Colonial Dames in Delaware, the Sons of the American Revolution, the Delaware Heritage Commission, and the Delaware Humanities Forum.

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