Submitted by the Portsmouth History Commission

This proclamation was researched and written by members of the Portsmouth History Commission. It was presented to the commission by Portsmouth Mayor Dr. James W. Holley III at the December 10, 2002, city council meeting.


WHEREAS in 1752 Colonel William Crawford founded the Town of Portsmouth which flew the British Union Jack flag, a design that combined England's Red Cross of St. George with Scotland's White Cross of St. Andrew; and

WHEREAS the Grand Union Flag, designed in 1775, combined the King's Colors and the 13 stripes symbolizing the 13 colonies--this flag may have been among the various Colonial Flags that flew at diverse times in Portsmouth during the American Revolution excluding the times that Lord Dunmore was ensconced nearby at Gosport in late 1775 and at Hospital Point for part of 1776; and

WHEREAS the First National Flag, commonly known as the Betsy Ross Flag, replaced the Colonial Flags on June 14, 1777 and might well have flown here during the Revolution except during the British presence of 1779 and the British Occupation of 1780 to 1781. This First National flag with its blue canton with 13 white stars evolved to the present pattern of 50 stars representing the 50 states and 13 stripes representing the 13 original colonies; and

WHEREAS in April 1861 Virginia seceded from the United States and the Virginia Secession Convention passed an ordinance establishing a Commonwealth flag which flew briefly over Portsmouth and was nearly identical to that in current use; and

WHEREAS later that same month, Virginia voted to join the Confederate States of America and flew the Confederate flag from June 1861 to May 1862 when Federal forces occupied the city and raised the American flag again; and

WHEREAS in 1865 the Civil War ended and Portsmouth continued to fly the flag of the United States of America;

Now therefore, I, Dr. James W. Holley, III, Mayor of the City of Portsmouth, Virginia, do hereby proclaim Portsmouth under five flags.