The Controversial Green Mountain Boys

 Green Mountain Boys Flag

The American Revolution was a turbulent time for a new nation on the verge of being born. Settlers who had come here to escape the oppression of England’s royal rule banded together to fight for freedom, to establish a new republic in which all men are created equal. To unite the people, creating a feeling of belonging, pride, and patriotism, flags were flown for various purposes and over clusters of militia.

Who Were the Green Mountain Boys

One such militia consisted of the Green Mountain Boys, a group of settlers and land speculators who controlled the area called the New Hampshire Grants, located between the Connecticut River and Lake Champlain, what we know today as Vermont. Technically, they were under the control of New York, a decision made by the British; however, no town (save Brattleboro) acknowledged the laws imposed by the Brits.

Though the Green Mountain Boys did not recognize the laws of the British, they did support the call to arms at the start of the American Revolution. Led by Ethan Allen, his brother Ira Allen, and their cousin Seth Warner, the Green Mountain Boys had great success in the revolutionary war. Being hardened settlers, with a strong desire for freedom to live as they please, these men rallied around their standard, flying it at every conquest.

Their Successes During the War

While their victories may have been small, they were strategic wins in the war. At the beginning of the conflict, Allen and his men trekked north and took Ticonderoga, a small British garrison. After that, they headed down to Boston to defeat the British siege on the city. By taking the fort in the north, they cut off supplies and communications coming through Canada, as well as an attack from the redcoats stationed at the fort. Freeing the city of Boston ended the stand-off with the British.

The Green Mountain Boys contributed during the Battle of Bennington and the Battle of Hubbardton, and they participated in the invasion of Quebec.

Why So Controversial?

This militia was formed to stop New York from attempting to control their land, which they had rightfully settled years before New Hampshire lost its claim on it. Created in the 1760s, the Green Mountain Boys’ goal was to stop land surveyors, and, according to www.vermonthistory.org, they would evict people from their home and land if they held a grant from the state of New York. They may have been lawless and harsh, but they were a necessary force at the time.

Aside from their apparently lawless ways, governing the New Hampshire Grant area as their own republic, they were also said to be a “bigger deal” than they actually were. For example, in the taking of Fort Ticonderoga, they fought in tandem with another group led by Benedict Arnold. They downplayed the Arnold’s participation—to the point they “lost” his memoir.

Their Legacy

The Green Mountain Boys disbanded in 1777 when Vermont declared its independence from Britain and became a republic for fourteen years before becoming the 14th state admitted into the union. The remnants of the Green Mountain Boys became the Continental Rangers, led by Seth Warner. Ethan Allen had left the militia to join the Northern Army of New York with a rank of Lieutenant Colonel under Philip Schuyler. During the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the Spanish American War, the Green Mountain Boys mustered to fight again.

Their flag is a green field with a blue canton in the upper left corner containing 13 stars in a natural pattern. The green is representative of the area they lived, the Green Mountains. The thirteen stars symbolized the original thirteen colonies of the United States. It is potentially the most well-known flag of the Revolutionary War.

Today, this flag is still flown to symbolize the Vermont National Guard. This standard and many others can be found at AmericanFlags.com, where you will only find flags made in America by Americans. Fly your colors with pride!

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