Rattlesnakes on License plates
In Cathy Grimes’ column (Street Smart, February 9, 2014, Daily Press), she stated the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag has become one of the top ten vanity license plates in Virginia. The Gadsden flag, with the coiled rattlesnake became popular during the American Revolution.
In 1775, a militia unit from Culpeper County (VA) brought their version of Gadsden flag to Hampton (VA). The fighters from Culpeper wore tomahawks and scalping knives on their belts and carried their accurate rifles. These men were good shots and successfully protected Hampton. When Royal Governor Dunmore started to fortify Great Bridge in Chesapeake, the men took their Gadsden flag there. The British were soundly beaten at the Battle of Great Bridge on December 9, 1775.
Royal Governor Dunmore’s forces retreated to and then evacuated Norfolk for British ships in the harbor. For a while the patriots in warehouses along the Norfolk waterfront shot at anyone who appeared on the decks of the British ships. The patriots would not let the British come ashore to get much needed water, food or other supplies. That made Dunmore angry and he sent sailors to burn the docks and warehouses the patriots were shooting from.
In order to stop Dunmore from getting more soldiers and taking Norfolk as a harbor and stronghold, the colonials continued the burning that British sailors started on Jan. 1, 1776. Dunmore had left Virginia waters by August 1776.
The Battle of Great Bridge was one of the most important wins for our young country and the Gadsden flag was there.
I imagine most of the vanity license plates now are tea party followers. However, it would be interesting if most of the people in Culpeper County got the plates to commemorate the honor of their Revolutionary Militia.