VETERANS EXEMPT FLAG
The Veterans Exempt flag was described as having:
a black ground with 13 stars for the Union of White wrought in silver.
That in the center of the flag there be a Death's Head, with cross bones under. . .
Under these an open wreath, with this motto, "Thy will be done"
Over the Death's Head, surmounted as a crest, a Rattle-Snake with Thirteen Rattles,
coiled, ready to strike, with this motto in a similar wreath inverted over it,
"Don't tread on me." *
Little information is available on the activities of the Veterans Exempts for the remainder of the War of 1812.
Only once are they mentioned by name. In a letter from Major General Benjamin Mooers of the N. Y. Militia
to his friend Colonel Melancton Smith, U. S. Army, that describes a British raid on Plattsburgh during the
summer of 1813, Mooers states that ". . . Capt. Woolsy of the Veterans Exempts" received the flag of truce
that the British sent on shore before the main landing.
Most likely the Veteran Exempts turned out for other alarms and participated in the Battle of Plattsburgh in
September of 1814.
The Veteran Exempts, composed of the socially prominent and politically powerful, were undoubtedly
motivated by a feeling of patriotism, but the fear of being left out of the war must have also been a motive
for many of the members. Like the Home Guard in Britain during the Second World War they did provide
a valuable reserve in a time of crisis.
* Plattsburgh (N.Y.) Republican, 31 July 1812, p. 3.