|Colonial Merchent Naval Ensign|
-- Continental Congress: June 14,1777
I found a little nugget of information in the McGuire book "The Philadelphia Campaign, Brandywine and the Fall of Philadelphia " on page 111 in which a British officer on board one of the ships in Howe's invasion fleet describes what he saw as the fleet sailed past Annapolis, Maryland:
As His Majesty's ships sailed by, Sir George Osborn noticed that two forts guarding the harbor "had the impudence to hoist rebel colours in the sight of our fleet" , a defiant display that provoked some commentary.
"In the city and on the fort are flown rebel flags (Union flags, as they call them), Captain Von Munchausen explained. "They are white with purple stripes."
A British officer was quoted in the London Chronicle as saying "notwithstanding we could have battered it to pieces in half an hour, they had the impudence to display the thirteen stripes upon the two forts; but it was an object of little importance, as it was looked at with contempt and passed by without firing a shot."
For more information about the development of the Stars and Stripes, click Here - flag blog