Sunday, October 23, 2005

Email with Peter Ansoff, Flag expert and Flag Journal Author

Dear Peter Ansoff,

Thank you for your thorough email. It is so refreshing to get thorough, thought-full answers rather than the aggressively abbreviated communications of so much e-mail. Some email notation is reminiscent of the old KLB-47 "Polish typewriter" word groups that are sometimes intelligible but often have far different meanings.

First, today at the Ocean View branch of the Norfolk library, I ordered volume 11 of Raven: Journal... through the I.L.L. I also ordered the book Washington's Navy recommended by the Naval Historical Center. Searching through Auxilliary References I also found a Naval Institute book published in 1995 that I ordered via I.L.L. But I forget to order the one my "Cousin" Thomas Nelson recommended to me related to the question.

A few points in response to your research and writings. In regard to the Stripes and Snake flag currently in use, it is the only rendering of a rattlesnake of four flags (Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina) and one coin (from Georgia) where the snake is on its belly in retreat rather than in some posture of being coiled, ready to strike and defend. Given that "posture" of the Stripes and Snake rattler the motto is less a defiant warning than a plaintive plea "Don't tread on me".

I know a bit about snakes in that I was a Boy Scout who earned Reptile Study Merit Badge, had at one time 34 snakes, and even created a "snake coliseum" to have a king snake eat a rattlesnake. I was called "Snake Charmer" by the girls in high school, (I believe there is a country song along those lines which might explain why I did not get many dates in high school...)

In Navy Pilot survival training I stuffed my flight suit with pine straw and waded into the Blackwater River to grab frogs and snakes for our evening supper, and later in EOD Bomb Disposal Training I caught and removed a snake that decided our blast bunker was a nice home. When I was off the coast of Viet Nam in Operation End Sweep, I saw so many sea snakes that I was amazed. The helicopter pilot on our ship said they extended about a mile ahead of the ship and a half mile around. That is more than my 34.

In regard to your other article on the Pine Tree Flag, I believe that is an unfortunate nomenclature, for from my research it has a dual derived meaning. First there as the Cross of Saint George in a White Canton with an evergreen tree, possibly a pine, indeed shaped much that way, that was on the "First New England Flag" as far back as 1686 to 1707.

But while I have not seen a museum piece of the Washington Cruisers flag, it appears to be less symmetrical than the tree in the New England Flag, based on two decidedly second or third hand information images, and again, the Cross of Saint George was removed.

Further in my research, the British Army when they came ashore in early 1775 (?) and occupied Boston they cut down the Tree of Liberty where the Sons of Liberty used to meet. The Brits burned it for firewood, so the account goes. Some evergreen trees burn brightly due to sap, but do not burn for long. But the fire kindled a desire for defiance.

Anyway the sole Tree of Liberty, whether a pine from the former New England flag but without the red Cross of Saint George, or whether a somewhat modified green tree to represent the elm tree that was the Tree of Liberty, became the center image of the canton of the flag flown at Bunker Hill and shown clearly in a painting of a contemporary to the times painter, and is described as either the "Bunker Hill Flag" or the Continental Flag

Given that the Navy Jack was, and is, often the canton of the national flag, it is completely consistent with naval traditions that the Navy jack flag was the white field with the Evergreen Tree of Liberty, that formed the canton of the Continental Flag, and thus the traditionally derived Jack flag for the Continental Navy.

And given that George Washington was mentored by Thomas, Lord Fairfax, a courtier to the Court of Saint James, and was a contributor to the finest literary magazine of the day, Joseph Addison's Spectator, it is likely that George Washington was schooled in the political philosophy of John Locke where in his Second Treatise on Civil Government, Chapter XIV, "Of Prerogative", where is written, quoted as close as I can remember "when we are left with no appeal on earth, then we have the Liberty to appeal to heaven".

So the phrase "Appeal To Heaven" on the flag showing the Tree of Liberty is a further act or expression of defiance, in that it is Locke's syllogism for a "Call To War", a fact that is likely lost on most modern Americans who look at the flag and its defiant, Call To War motto.

Indeed, three days after the Hannah was commissioned on 2 September, she captured the British ship Unity, a most oddly fitting or ironic name of the first ship captured by the Continental Navy.

Note it is not "An Appeal To Heaven" as most modern flag makers wrongly produce, and the error is confirmed by at least two first person sources, Continental Colonel Joseph Reed, aide to General Washington, and Royal Navy Captain, Sir Hugh Pellasier (?sp) who captured the Continental ship named Washington that flew the Evergreen Tree of Liberty flag.

The "floating batteries" description seems to be entirely ill-suited to describe the Hannah, or the six ships who were commissioned by Washington following her. All were ocean going ships, who pursued, engaged the enemy and captured several. That sort of sea going activity is a pretty fair description of a Navy ship commissioned by the Commander in Chief elected unanimously by the Continental Congress just a few months before.

Being that six of seven were named for leaders of the Continental cause, including Franklin (from Pennsylvania, though originally from Massachusetts) and (Harrison, Mercer, Washington and Lee from Virginia), it is hard to describe them as Massachusetts Navy ships even though one was named for Hancock.

Beyond the pines of New England flags and fields, moors and mountains, and the old Navy saying of "in the days of wooden ships and iron men", the tree also connects with the Naval Stores from the loblolly pine trees of Georgia and the Naval Live Oak Forest near Pensacola, as well as a Tree of Liberty in Annapolis that just died a few years ago, and other Tree of Liberty trees in other old towns in America.

And I like to remind folks of the musical Carousel with the show tune words, "My boy bill will be strong and as tough as a tree. Like a tree he will grow, with his head held high, and his feet planted firm on the ground. And no one will every dare to try, to toss him or boss him around..."

Finally, other than being a flag waving patriot since before I was a Boy Scout, and paying dues, what else must I do to become a member of NAVA? (Since I have long been a member of the NAVy.)

James Renwick Manship, Sr.

P.S. Through the good offices of NAVA, might we together try to get the many manufacturers of the Tree of Liberty/Washington Cruisers Flag to correct the "An Appeal..." error, and rename it from the "Pine Tree Flag" to either the Tree of Liberty Flag or the Washington Cruisers flag? Also design wise, I believe from the illustrations the motto should be under the Tree of Liberty.

> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: FW: Your Raven article and award...
> From: "Peter Ansoff"
> Date: Mon, October 24, 2005 2:02 pm
> To:
> Cc:
> Dear James,
> Many thanks for your email. My article on the "First Navy Jack" appeared in
> Raven Issue 11, which was published in Fall 2004. The gist of the article
> is that the FNJ probably did not actually exist during the Revolutionary
> War. This conclusion is not really new; I believe that most modern flag
> historians more-or-less agree with it. However, the article takes an
> in-depth look at how the legend of the FNJ originated, and how it came to be
> part of American flag lore. Raven 11 is still in print and is available
> from NAVA; I believe that the per-copy price is $15.00.
> You might be interested in two other papers that I have presented over the
> last year or so, and am currently preparing for publication:
> 1. "The Sign Their Banners Bore" is a study of the "Appeal to Heaven"/Pine
> Tree flag. As I'm sure you know, this flag is traditionally associated with
> three different activities: a) the "floating batteries" built by
> Washington's army in the Fall of 1775, b) the commerce raiding cruisers that
> Washington commissioned in 1775-76 and c) the Massachusetts State Navy. The
> major conclusions are: a) the floating battery flag did not display a pine
> tree (it was probably an elm), b) the Pine Tree flag was never officially
> adopted for use by Washington's cruisers, and most of them probably never
> used it, although two or three of his captains did so on their own
> initiatives, c) the Pine Tree flag *was* officially adopted by the
> Massachusetts Navy, but does not seem to have been widely used (most of
> their outfitting records and battle reports refer to the Continental or
> American flag). The paper also takes a look at the historical origins of
> the tree symbol and the "Appeal to Heaven" motto. I presented this paper at
> the NAVA meeting in Indianapolis in 2003, and I'm hoping that it will be
> published in the "Flag Bulletin" next year.
> 2. "The Flag on Prospect Hill" is about the flag that Washington raised
> outside Boston on January 1, 1776. My original intent was to take a look at
> the names "Grand Union" and Great Union," which I suspected to be 19th
> century inventions that were not used during the Revolution. This turned
> out to be true, but a more surprising conclusion emerged also, which is that
> the flag Washington raised was probably not the "Continental Colors" with
> the British union and 13 stripes, but simply a British Union Flag. (It
> sounds odd, but that's what the primary sources seem to indicate). I
> presented this one at the Star Spangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore last
> Spring, and also to the American Revolution Round Table in DC. (There is a
> brief synopsis of it on the ARRT web site at
>, in the "recent programs"
> section.) It will probably be published on line in "American Vexillum"
> magazine, and the Flag Institute in the UK has expressed some interest in
> extracting it in their newsletter.
> I hope to continue this series in the future with several more papers on
> Revolutionary-war-era flags. One will be a survey of rattlesnake flags, and
> another will deal with General Putnam's standard. The methodology will be
> the same in all cases: review the primary sources, and try to untangle to
> mass of legend and folklore that has grown up around them over the last
> couple of centuries.
> I hope that all this is useful. Thanks again for the email!
> Best regards,
> Peter Ansoff
> -----Original Message-----
> From: J. R. 'States' Manship []
> Sent: Sunday, October 23, 2005 5:32 PM
> To:
> Subject: Your Raven article and award...
> Dear President Peter Ansoff,
> The historians at the Naval Historical Center mentioned the article you
> wrote in Raven about the First Navy Flag.
> I "googled" for Raven and found a capsule review of your article but not the
> full piece.
> >From what little I read I believe we are on the same page. Would like
> >learn
> more on your scholarship on the issue.
> I hope to hear from you by email.
> James Renwick Manship, Sr.
> (also known as George Washington LIVES!) link to
> Chairman, W.I.S.E.- Washington Institute for Statesmanship Education Box 75,
> Mount Vernon, VA 22121
> (currently at a beach cottage in Norfolk)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Mind Your Ps and Qs, Navy Ps and Qs, Os and Ps, HerOes vs. HerPes of the Alfred... Commo./Gen. Esek Hopkins Relieved... OOPS!

The Bon Homme Richard was made famous by the American Navy Captain John Paul
Jones courageous words “We have not yet begun to fight”, and then capturing the British
ship Serapis. Bon Homme Richard was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin who was a
printer, philosopher, and physical scientist made famous initially by his publication Poor
Richard’s Almanac of 1753, who included the proverbial “Mind your P’s and Q’s”.
In the early days of printing, typesetters had to be careful not to mix up the blocks they
used to print letters, particularly the p's and q's. We still say "Mind your p's and q's"
when we want people to mind their manners.
So in this modern technological world, everything changes, and yet everything stays the
same. The need to mind your P’s and Q’s is now a call to mind your P’s and O’s as in
the OCR text recognition error above of changing the o in heroes to a p, giving a vastly
different meaning, yet one that is too often associated with Navy men in ports. OOPS!
Nautical Terminology: Mind Your P's and Q's
Posted on Saturday, April 03, 2004 5:14 PM
There are few of us who at one time or another have not been admonished
to "mind our P's and Q's," or in other words, to behave our best. Oddly
enough, "mind your P's and Q's" had nautical beginnings as a method of
keeping books on the waterfront.
In the days of sail when Sailors were paid a pittance, seamen drank their ale
in taverns whose keepers were willing to extend credit until payday. Since
many salts were illiterate, keepers kept a tally of pints and quarts consumed
by each Sailor on a chalkboard behind the bar. Next to each person's name,
a mark was made under "P" for pint or "Q" for quart whenever a seaman
ordered another draught.
On payday, each seaman was liable for each mark next to his name, so he
was forced to "mind his P's and Q's" or he would get into financial trouble.
To ensure an accurate count by unscrupulous keepers, Sailors had to keep
their wits and remain somewhat sober. Sobriety usually ensured good
behavior, hence the meaning of "mind your P's and Q's.
From the Naval Historical Center website, at the address shown is a time to mind our P’s
and Q’s; and these able historians are acutely aware of how small errors are introduced.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Navy Birthday letter to SECNAV Gordon England

13 October 2005, U. S. Navy’s 230th Birthday

The Honorable Gordon R. England
Secretary of the Navy
1000 Navy Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20350-1000

Dear Secretary England,

Carpe Diem! Seize the Day! Seize this 230th Navy Birthday to seize, reclaim, and restore a vital
bit of Naval History given to US by the “father of His country” – George Washington, to restore
the proud flying of the Navy’s First Navy Flag -the Washington Cruisers Flag - as the Navy Jack.

While prudence might suggest to wait and “staff” this proposal further, the historical staff work
already done in support of this worthy action is both broad and deep, aspects of point 8 in your
Leadership Lecture at the Naval Academy Forrestal Series. (...all Forests need a Liberty Tree.)

When I took time to “staff” this proposal with the Head of the Early History Division of the
Naval Historical Center, the timelines of our Navy’s and Nation’s history were used to disprove
the claims of the Navy’s founding by Commodore Esek Hopkins with the Alfred at Philadelphia
that did not occur until December 1775 when according to Pulitzer Prize winning historian
Barbara Tuchman, First Lieutenant John Paul Jones raised the Grand Union Flag (with the
British Union as its canton, leading to the later need for a different Navy Jack), that replaced the
Continental Flag flown at Bunker Hill with its “Tree of Liberty” canton. Also in error are the
claims of the birth of the Navy on Lake Champlain that occurred even later - in August 1776.

Again, setting aside all the history of the two flags in “competition” as THE First Navy Flag, let
us consider the alternate messages of each. Consider: What is our message to the Philippine
fisherman, or the Arab seaman, of a snake -- or an evergreen tree -- to represent America?
In nearly every world culture (except maybe the Chinese with their “Year of the Snake” and
reverence for Dragons - serpents), snakes or serpents are considered EVIL. On the other hand,
consider the message of an evergreen tree, even if the connection with the Tree of Liberty is lost.
The Washington Cruisers “Evergreen Tree of Liberty” Flag is “tall and tough as a tree”, as
used in Navy ships. A tree is upright, sheltering, and life affirming. A symbol for America!

Damn the Torpedos, Full Speed Ahead! A proud slogan taken from a later war for liberty.
Fear not the barking dogs of the ACLU-types, use your action of this correcting of history to
affirm and reinforce the courage of the leaders of the Naval Academy who stand firm and upright
like the Navy’s Tree of Liberty Flag, against agents of PC - “Political Corruptness”, and so, stand
boldly for one of American’s First Amendment “dearest rights and liberties” of free expression.

Sir, I ask that you take action to sign Enclosure (1), or similar, a new Navy instruction to be
signed and dated 13 October 2005, the 230th Birth of the U. S. Navy the proposed new SECNAV
Instruction to direct the use of the Washington’s First Navy Flag, in place of the Union Jack flag,
or the “Serpent over Stripes” flag at least for the duration of the Global War on Terrorism.

James Renwick Manship, Sr., LCDR, USNR

Enclosure (1) SECNAV Instruction 10520.7 of 13 October 2005 (proposed)
Washington Cruisers - First Navy Flag before “Serpent”
Naval Historical Center site says this flag was first

“...I am like an evergreen tree...”
“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things.
“Whoever is intelligent, let him listen.”
Hosea 14:8-9: TLB [partial quotations]

Navy Birthday entry

Decision Points on True First Navy Flag from SECNAV lecture on Leadership at Naval Academy

Decision Points on change of Navy Jack Flag from “Snake” to Washington Cruisers Flag
[Updated from Letter to SECNAV England from LCDR Manship ltr 10520.7 of 5 October 2005]

From Secretary Gordon England’s Forrestal Series lecture on Leadership at the Naval
Academy, are pertinent points:

8. Never stop learning — depth and breadth of knowledge are equally
important (I pray that my letters expand our Navy’s depth and breadth of knowledge on
our 1st Navy Flag. Historians are just now learning “new” facts about Roman ships of
two millennia ago, is it then not reasonable that historians - and statesmen like you - may
learn “new” facts about American ships of two centuries ago.)

>>A.On 21 October 2005, Dr. Dennis Conrad of the Naval Historical Center told about
the article by flag expert Peter Ansoff in the journal Raven, vol. 11 (2004), titled “The
First Navy Jack” to historian Manship.

>>B. From Page 2 of the Raven article, “In fact, however, there is little evidence that
his flag was flown by Commodore Hopkins in 1775, or that it even existed during
the American Revolution.”

>>C. After “9-11” in 2001 and early 2002 before signing SECNAV Instruction
10520.6 on 31 May 2002, Captain Brayton Harris, one of the project officers on the use
of the Rattlesnake Jack for the Bicentennial in 1975, was one man who promoted the re-
introduction of the flag for the Global War on Terrorism. No one involved in the 2002
event would have known of the 2004 article “The First Navy Jack” by flag expert Ansoff.

9. Encourage constructive criticism
(I pray both content and tone of my “Tree of Liberty” Flag letters and concept are received as constructive.)

>>A.Truly there is no criticism of Navy officers in 1975 or 2002 on the past errors
because “Generations of flag historians have assumed them to be authentic, and have
built upon them a legend of the First Navy Jack – an historic flag that never was.” P. 10.

11. Make ethical standards more important than legal requirements.
(When I tell Americans of this True Navy Flag, many folks express words of intimidation or “fear” -- of the
ACLU types “legal” objections; FDR reminds us the only fear is fear itself. We must not be cowered.)

>>(A) The motto “Appeal To Heaven” is NOT denomination specific. The Islamic faith
requires its adherents to pray, or “Appeal To Heaven” five times a day. The Jewish faith is well
known for its devotions, prayers, and Appeals To Heaven. The Indian naturalistic faith is
exhibited by a New York Indian Chief who said that George Washington, alone among the white
men, would be welcomed in “Indian Heaven”. Many oriental faiths tout meditation, which is a
synonym for prayer, or an “Appeal To Heaven”. The Christian faith is to pray unceasingly, to
“Appeal To Heaven”, yet in Washington’s case with Grace before meals, and Morning and
Evening prayers, he prayed at least five times a day. (See Washington’s prayers in his own
penmanship, and learn aspects of his prayer life from the e-book PRAYER WARRIOR.)

>>(B) The GW 1st Navy Flag is correct historically. Both the Naval Historical Center website
as shown by [ref. (c)], and the picture shown in
(e) THE NAVY, Naval Historical Foundation, RADM W. J. Holland, USN, (Ret.), © 2000 [ref.
(e)], reveal the Washington Cruisers Flag is the true First Navy Flag.
Let the barking dogs bark, they don’t bite when barking, and the Leadership Institute Law
of the Public Policy Process #12 is
“Keep your eye on the main chance and don’t stop to kick every barking dog.”

>>(C) This is visionary as President Reagan said in 1982, “The most sublime picture in
American history is of George Washington on his knees...” in his Appeal To Heaven; more
“sublime” than the majestic Capitol dome, or the soaring eagle or the fluttering flag. While this
Washington Cruiser First Navy Flag does not show the “father of His country” Washington on his
knees, yet “his” First Navy Flag motto conveys a similar inspired, and inspirational, message.

>>(D) While “Revolutionary”, the GW flag is consistent with previous federal recognitions.
a. The Pentagon chapel shows GW kneeling in prayer
b. The U.S. Capitol Members’ Prayer Room shows GW kneeling in prayer
c. The USS George Washington ship’s chapel shows GW kneeling in prayer
d. The Fort Belvoir Chapel in Mount Vernon shows GW kneeling in prayer
e. The Redstone Arsenal Chapel in Alabama shows GW kneeling in prayer
f. U.S. Postage Stamps in 1924 and 1977 show GW kneeling in prayer
g. The Treasury Building, on Wall Street in New York where Washington
was Inaugurated, now near “Ground Zero”, shows GW kneeling in prayer

>>(E) It is akin to “Call in Naval Gunfire” support for the Naval Academy (my father Kam
Manship, Sr., was Class of 1943). The Navy’s leaders have shown courage standing strong
against the relentless onrush against our One Nation Under God and our Navy’s faith traditions.
Just remember the words of Commander-in-Chief Washington on 3 July 1776:
“The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the conduct and
courage of this army, defending the dearest rights and liberties of this country...”

12. Strive for team-based wins, not individual
(I do not say “I know it all”, the Naval Historical Center and other sources are cited. I appeal to you, and
your team, to Transform The World with this simple true change. Together Everyone Achieves More.)

(A) The team based win is a combination of the Early History Branch of the
Naval Historical Center, the flag expert Peter Ansoff, and historian/journalist Manship.

In an email on Oct 21, 2005, at 10:54 AM, Dennis CONRAD, of NAVHISTCEN wrote:
Dear Mr. Manship: We are passing around the office an article that may be of real
interest to you.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Ambassador J. Wm. Middendorf (SecNav 1975-77) of 5 Oct a.d. 2005

Wednesday, 5 October a.d. 2005

The Honorable J. William Middendorf
565 West Main Road
Little Compton, Rhode Island 02837

Dear Ambassador Middendorf:

I am writing to you because you were the Secretary of the Navy in anno domini 1975, (when I was an Ensign)
and when as a Bicentennial Celebration recognition the “Rattlesnake Flag” was directed to be flown as the
Navy’s Jack Flag, and based on that precedent has been directed for use again in the Global War on Terrorism.

We have met at various conservative functions in Washington, and I called for your contact information from
Heritage Foundation where you serve on the Board. I was given your address as above. George Dunlop,
husband of Vice President Becky Norton Dunlop, and I served on the Mount Vernon Board of Visitors.

In my Google research on you, I see you serve in some capacities that are most pertinent to this proposal, so I
come to you based on your service as Chairman, Secretary of Navy's Advisory Committee on
Naval History; Trustee, Naval Historical Foundation; and Trustee, Navy Museum.

I am sending by express mail several letters that convey my discoveries as an historian that suggest that the
more appropriate flag to fly would be the true First Navy Flag, the Washington Cruisers Flag, also called the
“Pine Tree Flag”, or more appropriately described as the Evergreen Tree of Liberty Flag, with its motto
“Appeal To Heaven”. I pray, or I appeal that you carefully consider the facts and the significance of this idea.

I understand that many times as a leader we sign documents that later we discover contain errors, or in light of
future events, or further research or scholarship, warrant a change from what we once authorized.

I will not further discuss the question in this cover letter, but I would appreciate your review of my historical
research on the true First Navy Flag, so that you would be willing to recommend this important change. Would
you do the kindness to phone call me so we may discuss the merits of this proposal as I seek your concurrence?

For America’s future (building up on our past),

James Renwick Manship, Sr., Chairman

P. S. Washington planned and executed the Trenton Raid in one week -- from 18 to 25 December a.d. 1776.
Thus, it is reasonable to consider coordinating action to encourage Secretary of the Navy England make a
positive decision for this “Revolutionary” change in time for the 13 October Navy birthday.