US Navy Ensign No. 5
Navy Yard Cavite
June 13, 1900
SIZE: 60“ x 112“ [5 ft x 9 ft 4
Weight 2 lbs 4 oz
Presented is a hand stitched official 48 vs. 45 Star,
U.S. Navy Ensign that was made in the naval shipyard in Cavite, Manila Bay, Philippines following the Battle of Manila
Bay. The reason for it being made as a 48 Star flag rather than the official 45 Star flag has been lost to the vagaries
This flag was carried by the USS Boston on the return of the fleet to the United States in
1899 and was obtained by Colonel William T. Carpenter, Coastal Artillery Corps, at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in 1902
along with many other of the flags which were flown by Dewey's flotilla in the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898. The cruiser,
USS Boston, was one of the 6 warships in Dewey's battle fleet. An original brown ink tag with this history is attached to
the hoist. Carpenter was in his twenties at the time and later became a noted collector.
This flag comes from a group of about twenty flags by
direct decent of Carpenter through the family to the first holder. Approximately, twenty years ago the first
holder died and his estate hired a consultant to value the flags and to find a buyer. All the flags at
that time were piled in one box. The consultant then arranged a sale from the first holder to a person
in Virginia. Over a period of time the last owner sold the best of these flags, which found their way to market,
at prices up to $15,000.00 by private treaty. Two noteworthy sales were the 45 Star Ensign flown by the USS Boston at
the Battle of Manila Bay, and a Hawaiian flag. The remaining flags were later sold at auction. The consultant
of the Carpenter Estate remembers this 48 star Ensign number 5. He thinks its “sweet” and very rare since
it is one of the first, to have come from the Cavite Bay Navy Yard, it’s hand sewn workmanship being exemplary
and the 48 stars making it even more desirable. His word in describing the 48 stars is “enigmatic”.
posed two possibilities of having 48 vs. 45 stars. After inspecting them again, there is no way to tell if stars
were added because there is a normal irregularity throughout their placement. The hand stitching all appears to be the same.
My contact says there is no question about the flags authenticity, and certainly is familiar with the Carpenter tags which
appear on many, of those that he recalls.
The 45 star flag was authorized from 1896
when Utah entered the Union until 1907, when Oklahoma became the 46th State. This period included hostilities with Spain
during the Spanish-American War of 1898 and Teddy Roosevelt’s famous “Great White Fleet” World
Tour of 1908-1909. This era was of historic and patriotic significance.
The 46 Star Flag: In
1908, the addition of Oklahoma to the Union, brought the total number of stars to 46. There were thirteen stripes
representing the thirteen original colonies.
The 48 Star Flag: On July 4,1912, the U.S. flag increased
to 48 stars with the addition of New Mexico (January 6th, 1912) and Arizona (February 14, 1912). Executive
Order of President Taft dated June 24, 1912 - established the proportions of the flag and provided for arrangement of the
stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward. This flag was official for 47 years.
Dewey's 6 ship Battle Fleet
MOUNTING: The flag can be folded, shingled in such away,
as to shorten the length to whatever is desired. It is worthy of being framed under glass using archival procedures
which is best done at its new location to fit the preferences of the new owner.
Many collectors prefer military flags to show their age and history of use.
The tabling is stamped “U.S. Ensign No. 5 Navy Yard, Cavite, June 13, 1900. The flag is entirely
hand-sewn, and constructed of wool bunting with cotton muslin, double mounted, stars. There is a tabling on
the hoist covering a braided rope tail line with a bight at the top and a wood toggle at the bottom. Hence,
there is no need for grommets. The stars, with points up, are arranged in 6 rows of 8.
There is a patch at the upper left, and there are two stains at the lower edge of the canton and minor stains elsewhere with
minor mothing. All stiching is by hand and is precise, and beautifully done. There is a loss of fabric on the fly.
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it may be returned within five days of receipt in its original packaging if without damage. Return items must be insured
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included in this offer if an error is due to our fault.
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