The History of the Washington Cruisers Flag: This flag was used by George Washington on his squadron of six schooners which he outfitted at his own expense in the fall of 1775. This flag was a variation of the New England Pine Tree flag. It was later modified and adopted by the Massachusetts Navy. The Sons of Liberty would rally under a large tree, in Boston Massachusetts, which came to be known as "The Liberty Tree". This tree became a symbol of American independence. Knowing they were up against a great military power, they believed they were sustained by still a greater power, thus their "APPEAL TO HEAVEN".