What Is the Cowpens Flag?

The American flag has been around for several centuries. The first American flag was adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. Over the years, however, the design has changed. There have been several versions of the American flag, one of which is the Cowpens flag. While the Cowpens flag has since been replaced with the modern-day American flag consisting of 13 stripes and 50 stars, it played an important role in our nation’s history.

Overview of the Cowpens Flag

The Cowpens flag is an early version of the modern-day American flag. It features 13 horizontal stripes in red-and-white alternating colors — just like the current American flag. Rather than 50 stars, though, the Cowpens flag features a blue field with 13 stars. The blue field features a circle of 12 stars. In the center of this circle is the 13th star.

Cowpens Flag vs Betsy Ross Flag: What’s the Difference?

Another early version of the modern-day American flag is the Betsy Ross. The Betsy Ross flag, in fact, shares a  strikingly similar design to that of the Cowpens flag. They both have 13 horizontal stripes in red-and-white alternating colors, and they both have 13 stars. The main difference between the two flags is that the Cowpens flag features a circle of 12 stars with the 13th star in the center. The Betsy Ross flag, on the other hand, features a circle of 13 stars with no additional stars in the center.

History of the Cowpens Flag

The Cowpens flag receives its namesake from the Battle of Cowpens. On January 17, 1781, a large battle broke out between U.S. forces and British forces near the South Carolina town of Cowpens. Known as the Battle of Cowpens, it was a pivotal point during the American Revolution.

Historians believe that William Batchelor of the 3rd Maryland Regiment carried the Cowpens flag when defending the town against the invading British forces. The Cowpens flag is also known as the 3rd Maryland flag for this reason. Batchelor was a member of the 3rd Maryland Regiment. As a result, many Americans referred to the Cowpens flag as the “3rd Maryland flag” in the years following the Battle of Cowpens.

See the United States Flag History Timeline.

Long after the Battle of Cowpens, the Batchelor family gave the Cowpens flag to the Society of the War of 1812. The Cowpens flag has since become recognized as one of the earliest versions of the modern day American flag. It was originally displayed during the Battle of Cowpens, after which it was donated to the Society of the War of 1812.

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