Appeal To Heaven
The year was 1775 and our country was just about to face their greatest battle on American soil. It was the beginning of the American Revolution. At that time, the British (the most powerful military in the world), were occupying Boston and problems in the colonies were rising. George Washington wanted to intercept incoming British ships with supplies, however the popular vote in Philadelphia disagreed with anything to do with upsetting the king, especially after the Boston Tea Party. Our General decided to take it upon himself, behind closed doors, to commission six privately owned schooners and start his own navy (rumored to have been done at his own expense.) It was to be called "Washington's Secret Navy" and all boats were to have "An Appeal to Heaven" flag upon them. Also known as "Washington’s cruiser flag", it was a white flag with an evergreen tree in the middle with the words “An Appeal to Heaven" stitched across.
Just a few months after the first voyage, a British Brigantine named the "Nancy" was captured by one of our schooners the "Lee". On board were muskets, flint, gun powder, and other supplies in abundance. The prize was so great that it was said our country would have taken well over a year to produce these items. Not only was this the greatest capture of the entire Revolution, it also inspired all the founding fathers and the birth of our country's United States Navy as we know it today. The original schooners bearing the "Appeal to Heaven" flags continued capturing British ships and performing special services for the remainder of the war as our new Navy was being formed. In April 1776, The state of Massachusetts adopted this flag for its own navy. It's resolution for operations ... "Resolved, that the uniform of the officers be green and white, and that the colors be a white flag, with a green pine tree, and the inscription, 'An Appeal to Heaven.'" The Massachusetts Navy sailed twenty-five ships during the war to defend the coast from the British and then eventually absorbed into the United States Navy.
The pine tree had long been a New England symbol being depicted on the Flag of New England, flown by colonial merchant
ships dating back to 1686. Leading up to the Revolutionary War, it became a symbol of Colonial ire and resistance.