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 First Salute to an American Flag 
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Post First Salute to an American Flag
Currently, I am reading "The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution" by Barbara W. Tuchman -- on which I will post more later.

Her title refers to the return of a salute from the Dutch island of St. Eustatius to the American Brigantine "Andrew Doria" on 16 November 1776 as the first salute to the American flag by a foreign country. Tuchman refers to this flag as the flag of the Continental Congress which I am assuming to be the same as the "Grand Union" flag.

Up to this point, I had thought that the salute of the American Flag on John Paul Jones' "Ranger" by French warships on 14 February 1778 was the first. I believe that the Ranger's flag was a later one with 13 stars.

Of course, the confusion might be an "Animal Farm" type of thing. The "Andrew Doria" salute was from a foreign country and the "Ranger" salute was from a foreign warship.

Poking around on the Internet (always a chancy notion), I came across a reference of a salute to an American flag by the Danish St. Croix in October 1776 which would be the month prior to the "Andrew Doria" incident. Few details were offered. This particular article did say that, traditionally, the "Andrew Doria" event is considered the first. No reason is given.

Any members have more details or comments?

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Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:20 am
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Post Re: First Salute to an American Flag
Details on the St Croix Danish salute would be welcome - then I will try digging in Danish websites! Mange Tak!
Viking


Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:59 pm
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Post Re: First Salute to an American Flag
http://webpac.uvi.edu/imls/pi_uvi/profiles1972/Patriots/Markoe_A/text.shtml
The above link is an article in English about a Dane from St Croix who designed the first American flag. It may lead on to an answer to the first question!
Viking


Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:19 am
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Post Re: First Salute to an American Flag
Viking wrote:
Details on the St Croix Danish salute would be welcome - then I will try digging in Danish websites! Mange Tak! Viking
I found the following link at the Library of Congress website. Looks like the St. Croix incident involved an American merchant ship rather than a warship. That "might" explain why the Andrew Doria is considered the first salute. Just a guess of course. I could not find the merchant ship's name, captain's name, or any other details.

CLICK HERE

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Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:52 pm
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Post Re: First Salute to an American Flag
Google search "October 1776"+ St Croix+Salute yields
this answer
The birth of our flag, and flag etiquette:
an address delivered before the Pennsylvania society of the Order of the founders and patriots of America

Louis Barcroft Runk, Order of the Founders and Patriots of America. Pennsylvania Society
0 Reviews
Published by the J.B. Lippincott Co. for the Pennsylvania society of the Order of the founders and patriots of America, 1921 - History - 32 pages

Page 13 extract
In October, 1776, an American schooner carrying this flag had her colors saluted at the Danish island of St. Croix, which seems to have been the first salute from foreign guns.

This flag was saluted November 16th 1776 by the Commander of “St. Eustatius,” in the Dutch West Indies, .. ..

So that was the story in 1921, at least

It is good to know the danes were forward thinking, even then!
Viking


Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:21 pm
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Post Re: First Salute to an American Flag
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It is good to know the danes were forward thinking, even then! Viking
I cannot speak about the motives of the Danes, but Tuchman goes into great detail about the history of the Dutch. It seems that the wealth generated from trade with the Americans (and other nations friendly and unfriendly to Britain) easily off-set Britain's attempt to stop the governor (and merchantmen) of St. Eustatius from supplying gunpowder and other war material to the fledgling nation of America.

In the long history of the Dutch, any nation's attempt to restrict their trade, whether it be Spain, England, or others, was met with defiance.

I still have not been able to find an answer to my basic questions: Why was the St. Croix incident not considered the First Salute? And... why does the salute to JPJ's Ranger appear in some accounts as the First Salute?

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Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:02 pm
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Post Re: First Salute to an American Flag
http://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dansk_Vestindien in Danish.
"From Fort Frederik was fired the first salute in recognition of the USA independance in 1776"
http://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederiksted in Danish
Frederiksted is a town on St Croix in the US Virgin Islands which were previously the Danish West Indies. .. The town is dominated by the red and white Fort Frederik from the 1750's. The fort has special meaning to both USA and Denmark-Norway. It was from here that the first foreign salute of recognition of USA independance was given in 1776.

The latter gives a link (broken on that website) to an English language site of St Croix Heritage trails and contact details as below
© 2012, St. Croix Landmarks Society. All rights reserved.
© 2008 St. Croix Landmarks Society
52 Estate Whim Frederiksted St. Croix Virgin Islands 00840
Tel (340) 772-0598 | Fax (340) 772-9446 | Email HeritageTrail@stcroixlandmarks.org


Perhaps they can provide more details and sources.
Viking


Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:00 am
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Post Re: First Salute to an American Flag
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St. Croix Landmarks Society. All rights reserved. Perhaps they can provide more details and sources. Viking
I sent an email 28 February 2012. I hope they reply.

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Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:04 am
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Post Re: First Salute to an American Flag
timoneer wrote:
Quote:
St. Croix Landmarks Society. All rights reserved. Perhaps they can provide more details and sources. Viking
I sent an email 28 February 2012. I hope they reply.

I still have not received a reply from St. Croix. Maybe they do not want to explain why their assertion that they made the first salute to the American Flag is not recognized by the American Government. Tuchman, in her book, acknowledges that there were several "first salute" claims but bases her book title on one fact.

In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt presented a plaque to St. Eustatius. Mounted on the ruins of Fort Orange, it reads, "In commemoration of the salute of the flag of the United States fired in this fort November 16, 1776 by order of Johannes de Graff, Governor of St. Eustatius in reply to a national gun salute fired by the U.S. Brig-of-war Andrew Doria.. Here the sovereignty of the United States was first formally acknowledged... to a national vessel by a foreign official."

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Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:13 am
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Post Re: First Salute to an American Flag
Perhaps answers from St Croix take a little longer.

You may already have found the website
http://www.andrewdoria.com/index.php?p=1
which puts the Dutch island's case. I have emailed them to see if they can clarify the state of play.


Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:32 pm
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Post Re: First Salute to an American Flag
and their initial reply
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Sir: I am not aware of the discussion group you mention. What I do know is the US Navy publications and the Dutch Government all have records indicating the First Salute took place on Statia on 11/16/1776. Please share new information at your disposal. Send it to the Company email: adtfs@baybroadband.net I will try to track down the reference you mentioned. Thank you, Joseph D. Irr, President Andrew Doria - The First Salute, Inc.

With luck, they will soon join the sailing navies forum.
Viking


Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:46 am
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Post Re: First Salute to an American Flag
Continuing the quest:
There are two entries on the English-language wikipedia that give credit to St Eustatius and the Andrew Doria viz -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sint_Eustatius#.22First_Salute.22
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Doria_(1775_brig)#First_salute.

Are these biased or ill-informed? Or is it the definition that the Andrew Doria was a US navy warship (brig) ? The Danish story should probably be edited into these to maintain balance.

On spec, I have sent the whole question to the Danish American Society in New York in case they have a historian who wants to dig a bit around St Croix.

Viking


Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:50 am
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Post Re: First Salute to an American Flag
And now an earlier salute!!? ..

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Saint-C ... ription-20

gives you this book for £28.xx
Saint Croix 1770-1776: The First Salute to the Stars and Stripes (Paperback)
By (author) Robert Amandus Johnson
"Robert Amandus Johnson chronicled this period of the history of Saint Croix from 1770-1776 and the remarkable relationship of the Island to the emerging American Nation. It relates, what is believed to be, the first foreign recognition of the American "Stars and Stripes." This occurred in Christiansted, St Croix in June 1776, prior to Congressional approval of the Declaration of Independence. This early "Stars and Stripes" was being flown from the American Brig "Nancy." The American Revolutionary Financier, Robert Morris had chartered the Brig "Nancy," on behalf of Congress, to acquire critically needed gunpowder in the Danish West Indies. Mr. Johnson resides in St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, his adopted home since first arriving as an Ensign in the U.S Navy in 1959."


Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:32 pm
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