Today marks the 235th birthday of the United States Navy and in its short history has demonstrated the bravery and skill of well-trained and led patriots of the sea. Our Navy’s history is an inspiration to future generations, who will most certainly find themselves in “harms way.”
Our Navy’s beginning has a link to Charleston, SC, through Christopher Gadsden. He was born in 1724 in Charleston, South Carolina. He was the son of Thomas Gadsden, who had served in the Royal Navy before becoming customs collector for the port of Charleston. Christopher was sent to school near Bristol, England. He returned to America in 1740, and served as an apprentice in a counting house in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He inherited a large fortune from his parents, who died in 1741. From 1745 to 1746 he served during King George’s War as a purser on a British warship. Returning to Charleston, he became a prominent merchant and fought in the South Carolina Militia during the French and Indian Wars. In 1765 he took up leadership of the “Sons of Liberty” in Charleston. Read more of his history here…
In early 1776 Gadsden presented to Commodore Esek Hopkins, the first and only commander-in-chief of the Continental Navy fleet, a flag designed by himself. This flag (seen below) consisted of a yellow field with a coiled snake and the motto “Don’t Tread on Me.”
Today the “Gadsden flag” flies in place of the Union Jack on a commissioned United States Navy ship with longest amount of time in active service.
Today is also the 35th anniversary of the dedication of Patritots Point Naval and Maritime Museum.
Happy birthday United States Navy, may your flags continue to fly proudly in service to our nation! Patriots Point salutes you!