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    Spanish American War - 13 Star Boat Flag - USS Ericsson (Torpedo Boat #2/TB2). The Ericsson was launched in 1894 by the Iowa Iron Works, Dubuque, Iowa as Torpedo Boat # 2. After finishing out she was commissioned USS Ericsson (TB-2) in 1897. She was the first of three US warships named for John Ericsson (1803-1889), the Swedish-American inventor best remembered for his creation the USS Monitor, the first armored, powered, ironclad warship equipped with a rotating gun turret that famously fought the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia, i.e. USS Merrimack, to a draw, March 8-9, 1862 in the Battle of Hampton Roads, changing naval warfare forever.

    The flag from the Ericsson is a wool bunting, 34" X 63", size 10, US Navy 13-star Boat Flag, with hand sewn double applique, omnidirectional, cotton stars and machine sewn stripes, finished with a canvas header and two brass grommets. The flag is marked on the upper reverse hoist, "ERICSON 13 ?." In the 19th century, the US Navy utilized a small ensign on bearing only 13 stars on cutters, gigs, and launches which became known as a "Boat Flag." The origins of the practice are unknown but it was standardized in the 1850s. The motivation for the practice seems to have been thrift. In the 19th century, the US flag was was dynamic, often changing upon the admission of new states and the expense of changing all the ensigns aboard a larger capitol ship could be prohibitive. The result, a 13-star flag that remained constant. When torpedo boats and later submarines came into wide use in the late 19th and early 20th centuries they were considered "boats" and wore these Boat Flags.

    In the 1890s, the US Navy continued to perfect small and fast boats designed to carry torpedoes into battle. Their experiments with the USS Cushing led to the improvements included in the USS Ericsson and subsequent torpedo boats.

    In 1897, the Ericsson completed her shakedown and was sent to Florida. When the war with Spain was declared she began a blockade patrol between Havana and Key West. She joined the US Fleet in June 1898 and participated in the July 3rd Battel of Santiago de Cuba, where the more modern US Navy scored a decisive victory over the Spanish Navy. As the Spanish defeat became apparent, Ericsson played a leading part in the rescue efforts. Laying alongside both the blazing cruiser Vizcaya and the flagship Maria Teresa, she rescued over 100 Spanish sailors and towed many more to safety. She was decommissioned in September 1898 and placed in reserve.

    This Boat Flag presents a rare opportunity for a collector of US Navy, Spanish American War, Torpedo Boat or John Ericsson associated artifacts.

    The Ericsson earned the Navy Spanish Campaign Medal.

    Condition: The Boat Flag of the Ericsson is in poor condition. It is used, worn and soiled the flag has tears throughout on the hoist, in the stripes and along the fly.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2020
    6th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 840

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