Members Only Veteran Exempts T-Shirt

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The Veteran Exempts, commanded by Captain Melvin L. Woolsey, was a local New York militia company, formed in July of 1812, which was made up of veterans of the American Revolution who were otherwise exempt from military service because of their age or injuries. By forming the Veteran Exempts the veterans enabled the younger militiamen to go off to war while the older men stayed to protect the local settlements. The Veteran Exempts flag may have been used at the Battle of Plattsburgh in upper New York. The Battle, also known as the Battle of Lake Champlain, ended the final British invasion attempt of the northern United States during the War of 1812. Fought shortly before the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, the American victory denied the British leverage to demand exclusive control over the Great Lakes and any territorial gains against the New England states.

The Veterans Exempt flag was described in the Plattsburgh Republican, July 31, 1812, as having "...a black ground with 13 stars for the Union of White, wrought in silver. That is the center of the Flag there be a Death's Head, with crossbones under, intimating what must soon, according to the course of nature, be their promiscuous fate, and the immediate one of any enemy who shall venture to contend with them. 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.´"

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