Pike’s Standard, now 205 years in custody

Here we see U.S. Naval Museum Catalog #1849.001.0014.

It is the British Royal Standard taken from the Parliament House at York, now Toronto, the British capital of Upper Canada by 1,800 regulars under noted explorer, U.S. Brig. Gen. Zebulon Montgomery Pike, in conjunction with a squadron of small shallow-draft vessels under U.S. Navy Lt. Isaac Chauncey, on this day (27 April) in 1813 in a raid known as the Battle of York.

According to the USNA, it is the only Royal Standard captured by U.S. forces and has been on display at Mahan Hall for over 150 years. It is currently undergoing maintenance.

The British and Canadian naval attaches in Washington recently traveled to Mahan Hall to view the standard

It was last on public display in 1913 when the great Amelia Fowler and her team of seamstresses moved to restore the banners.

Amelia Fowler and her team working on the Royal Standard in Mahan Hall, 1913, note the “Dont Give Up the Ship” banner hanging on the right

As for Pike, he was killed the same day the Standard was taken, aged 34, by shrapnel and debris when the much smaller British garrison blew up their ammunition magazine as they withdrew.

Chauncey, on the other hand, lived to command the Mediterranean Squadron and New York Naval Shipyard. He passed at a ripe old age of 67 as a Commodore and President of the Board of Navy Commissioners. Three different 20th Century destroyers (DD-3, DD-296, and DD-667) were named in his honor. Pike, of course, has a mountain.

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