Culpeper in Culpeper County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Revolutionary War
Barbour's assemblage gathered at Yowell Meadow (Clayton's Old Field) in makeshift tents and plank huts. They wore similarly colored shirts emblazoned with Patrick Henry's famous phrase "Liberty or Death!" and hats festooned with bucks' tails.
They had also created an equally inspiring name and banner under which to rally. The Culpeper Minute Men, as they called themselves, proudly flew their flag decorated with a coiled rattlesnake. Underneath the menacing beast were the words "Don't Tread on Me!" and to either side was their battle cry "Liberty or Death!" The uppermost portion of the flag showed just who would react with such a stinging blow-it read "The Culpeper Minute Men."
The image of the rattlesnake had been printed many years earlier by Benjamin Franklin in a carton entitled "Join or Die" and at various other times in his newspaper(s). This strong graphic must have captured the feelings of many Americans seeking relief from British rule.
The Culpeper Minute Men soon marched to Williamsburg
In December of the same year, the Minute Men engaged the British a second time. Their performance in the battle of Great Bridge near Norfolk supported what Thomas Jefferson had been told earlier. With help from reinforcements, the Minute Men soon pushed the British troops under the command of Lord Dunmore out of Norfolk and helped liberate the city. Three weeks later, Dunmore began an eleven-day bombardment of and assault on the city during which the Minute Men lost their first two soldiers. Dunmore's intention was to destroy as much of the city as possible and bid a hasty retreat up the Chesapeake Bay, which he did with success.
On February 14, 1776, the Minute Men were disbanded due to a shortage of firearms. Their reputation, however, continued to live on the battle flag they created. To this date, it has evoked patriotism in Americans and fear in oppressors.
Location. 38° 28.46′ N, 78° 0.141′ W. Marker Click for map. Located along the Yowell Meadow Park loop trail. Marker is in this post office area: Culpeper VA 22701, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Civil War (within shouting distance of this marker); Mountain Run Watershed (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Culpeper Minute Men (approx. 0.2 miles away); Historic Antioch Baptist Church (approx. ¼ mile away); A.P. Hill's Boyhood Home (approx. 0.3 miles away); “Gallant” Pelham’s Last Days (approx. 0.4 miles away); William "Extra Billy" Smith (approx. 0.4 miles away); Eppa Rixey Boyhood Home (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Culpeper.
More about this marker. On the left side of the marker is a depiction of the minute men's flag. On the lower right is a photo of a Reunion of Culpeper Minute Men, a fraternal organization.
Below the text is a time line of events related to the flag and Culpeper history:
1754 - Benjamin Franklin uses snake cut into pieces in a newspaper cartoon.
1775 - Revolutionary conventions meet in Williamsburg and Richmond
1775 - July - Revolutionaries form Committee of Safety.
1775 - October 18 - Minute Men begin march to Williamsburg, arriving on 23rd.
1775 - October 26 - Minute Men engage and damage Lord Dunmore's cannoneers.
1775 - November 16 - Commendation letter by Edmond [illegible] to Thomas Jefferson.
1775 - December 1-4 - Second Regiment marches to Great Bridge (near Norfolk).
1775 - December 9 - British defenders attack; Reinforcements arrive, Dunmore flees to ship.
1776 - January 21 - Dunmore shells Norfolk. Two Culpeper men die in shelling.
1776 - February 14 - Culpeper battalion disbands due to arms shortage.
Categories. • War, US Revolutionary •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,118 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.