Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Frederick in Frederick County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Barbara Fritchie House

“Shoot if you must this old gray head, but spare your country’s flag.”

 

—Antietam Campaign 1862 —

 
Barbara Fritchie House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 3, 2007
1. Barbara Fritchie House Marker
Inscription. As the Confederate army marched through Frederick on September 10, 1862, feisty local Unionists—mostly women—showed their defiance by waving the Stars and Stripes. The poet John Greenleaf Whittier immortalized one of them in “The Ballad of Barbara Fritchie” about a year later. Spoilsport historians have since pointed out that Stonewall Jackson’s column never passed her house and that the story of the aged Fritchie—who did wave such a flag from her porch when the Federals marched through town—probably was conflated with that of Mrs. Mary Quantrell, who shook a United States flag at Confederates who ignored her. Nonetheless, the poem raised patriotic spirits throughout the Union when it appeared.

Up from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,

The clustered spires of
Markers and the Barbara Fritchie House image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 3, 2007
2. Markers and the Barbara Fritchie House
In the foreground is one of a series of "Keys to Frederick" used as place markers throughout the city. This one notes that "Sir Winston Churchill visited the Barbara Fritchie house."
Frederick stand
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland,

Round about them orchards sweep,
Apple and peach-tree fruited deep,

Fair as a garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,

On that pleasant morn of the early fall
When Lee marched over the mountain-wall,

Over the mountains winding down,
Horse and foot, into Frederick town.

Forty flags with their silver stars,
Forty flags with their crimson bars,

Flapped in the morning wind; the sun
Or noon looked down, and saw not one.

Up rose old Barbara Fritchie then,
Bowed with her fourscore years and ten,

Bravest of all in Frederick town,
She took up the flag that men hauled down;

In her attic-window the staff she set,
To show that one heart was loyal yet,

Up the street came the rebel tread,
Stonewall Jackson riding ahead.

Under
Barbara Fritchie House image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 11, 2006
3. Barbara Fritchie House
his slouched hat left and right
He glanced, the old flag met his sight.

“Halt!”—the dust-brown ranks stood fast,
“Fire!”—out blazed the rifle-blast.

It shivered the window, pane and sash;
It rent the banner with seam and gash.

Quick as it fell, from the broken staff
Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf;

She leaned far out on the window-sill,
And shook it forth with a royal will.

“Shoot if you must this old gray head,
But spare your country’s flag,” she said.

A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came;

The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that woman’s deed and word;

“Who touches a hair on yon gray head
Dies like a dog! March on!” he said.

All day long through Frederick street
Sounded the tread of marching
Close Up View of the Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 3, 2007
4. Close Up View of the Map
feet;

All day long that free flag tost
Over the heads of the rebel host.

Ever its torn folds rose and fell
On the loyal winds that loved it well;

And through the hill gaps sunset light
Shown over it a warm good-night.

Barbara Fritchie’s work is o’er.
And the Rebel rides on his raids no more.

Honor to her! and let a tear
Fall, for her sake, on Stonewall’s bier.

Over Barbara Fritchie’s grave
Flag of Freedom and Union, wave!

Peace and order and beauty draw
Round thy symbol of light and law;

And ever the stars above look down
On thy stars below in Frederick town!

 
Erected by Maryland Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Maryland Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 39° 
Barbara Fritchie's Grave image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 9, 2007
5. Barbara Fritchie's Grave
To the South in Mount Olivet Cemetery is the grave of Barbara Fritchie.
24.838′ N, 77° 24.872′ W. Marker is in Frederick, Maryland, in Frederick County. Marker is on West Patrick Street (State Highway 144), on the left when traveling west. Click for map. Located between the Barbara Fritchie house and Mullinix Park, along Patrick Street (A one way street to the west at this point). Marker is at or near this postal address: 154 West Patrick Street, Frederick MD 21701, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 1862 Antietam Campaign (here, next to this marker); Jacob Engelbrecht (here, next to this marker); May 17, 1943 (here, next to this marker); John Hanson (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named John Hanson (about 600 feet away);
<i>The Grave of Barbara Fritchie, Frederick, Md.</i> image. Click for full size.
circa 1910
6. The Grave of Barbara Fritchie, Frederick, Md.
Ms. Fritchie and her husband were originally interred in the Episcopal Churchyard, as depicted above in the hand-tinted postcard. They were re-interred in Mt. Olivet Cemetery (See monument in Photo 5) in 1914.
a different marker also named John Hanson (about 600 feet away); Tyler’s-Spite House (about 700 feet away); A Good Night's Rest (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Frederick.
 
More about this marker. The marker has a map of Civil War Trails sites in Frederick on the lower left. In the lower center is an Illustration of Barbara Fritchie waving the flag.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Barbara Fritchie House. Of note, nearby is the home occupied for some time by another Frederick native associated with the flag - Francis Scott Key. (Submitted on September 24, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. The Historical Basis of Whittier's "Barbara Frietchie". by George O. Seilheimer. (Submitted on September 24, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Additional keywords. Antietam Campaign
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 6,830 times since then and 146 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   4, 5. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   6. submitted on . • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement