The New Jersey State Flag

NJ Home Page

The following memorandum appears in the Minutes of the New Jersey General Assembly for March 11, 1896 on page 347:

"The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved.

Mr. (Charles F.) Hopkins (of Morris County) offered the following memorandum, which was read:

On March 23rd, 1779 during the war of the Revolution, the Continental Congress, by resolution authorized and directed the Commander-in-Chief to prescribe the uniform, both as to color and facings, for the regiments of the New Jersey Continental Line.

In accordance with this resolution, General Washington, in General Orders dated Army Headquarters, New Windsor, New York, October 2nd, 1779, directed that the coats for such regiments should be dark blue, faced with buff.

On February 28th, 1780, the Continental War Officers in Philadelphia directed that each of said regiments should have two flags, viz: one the United States flag and the other a State flag, the ground to be of the color of the facing. Thus the State flag of New Jersey became the beautiful and historic buff, as selected for it by the Father of His Country, and it was displayed in view of the combined French and American armies in the great culminating event of the War of the Revolution, the capitulation of a British army under Lieutenant General Earl Cornwallis at Yorktown.

The same color has been prescribed for the state flag of New York, where a law requires it to be displayed with the United States flag over the capital when the legislature is in session.

The inquiry arises, why did General Washington select the beautiful historic buff facings exclusively for the Continental lines of New York and New Jersey when such facings were only prescribed for his own uniform and that of other Continental general officers and their aides-de-camp?

He evidently made the selection not only designedly, but for historic reasons. New York and New Jersey had originally been settled by the Dutch. Dark blue (Jersey blue) and buff were Holland or Netherlands insignia.

The Governor as commander-in-chief represents the State of New Jersey, and should have a prescribed headquarters flag, different from that used by infantry, cavalry or artillery.

In custom, every state Governor has one, but the propriety of an enactment on the subject is obvious.

Mr. Hopkins, on leave, introduced Assembly Joint Resolution No. 2 to define the state flag.

Under Chapter 170, P.L. 1965, the official colors of New Jersey for use on the state flag and for other purposes were established by statute as buff and Jersey blue.

NJ Home Page