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 —
Up from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,
The clustered spires of
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.
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
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° Touch 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); Mullinix Park (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); John Hanson (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named John Hanson (about 600 feet away); a different marker also named John Hanson (about 600 feet away); Mary Quantrill's Stand (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map 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 was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 24, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 7,071 times since then and 387 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 24, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 3. submitted on March 12, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 4, 5. submitted on September 24, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 6. submitted on November 12, 2015. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.