Near Frederick in Frederick County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Clustered Spires of Frederick
John Greenleaf Whittier immortalized Barbara Fritchie and the town of Frederick in his poem about the elderly Frederick resident who supposedly displayed the Union flag as Southern soldiers marched by on September 10, 1862.
By John Miller, September 21, 2010
1. Clustered Spires of Frederick Marker
On July 9, 1864, Confederate General Jubal Early held up the town! "...we are going to make a demand upon the banks Frederick of $200,000, and if the demand is granted, very good, if not then the town will be reduced to ashes."
The Mayor, Alderman, and Common Council of Frederick borrowed the money from the five local banks and the town was spared. The final payment on the loans was made in 1951.
In the same poem Whittier described the town and the surrounding valley:
Up from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,
The clustered spires of 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
John Greenleaf Whittier
Location. 39° 20.974′ N, 77° 23.386′ W. Marker is near Frederick, Maryland, in Frederick County. Marker can be reached from Interstate 270, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Located at a
rest stop/scenic overlook loop reached from west bound I-270. Marker is in this post office area: Frederick MD 21704, United States of America.
By Craig Swain, September 9, 2007
2. Markers at the Rest Stop / Overlook
The Clustered Spires marker is to the right side of the observation walkway.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. History of the Monocacy River Valley (here, next to this marker); The Battle That Saved Washington (a few steps from this marker); Gordonís Decisive Attack (was approx. 0.4 miles away but has been reported missing. ); Final Attack (approx. half a mile away); Civilians Under Siege (approx. half a mile away); Thick of the Battle (was approx. half a mile away but has been reported missing. ); Thomas Farm (approx. half a mile away); Federal Retreat (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Frederick.
More about this marker. On the upper left is a photograph of the church spires of Frederick. On the right is a photograph of "Confederate soldiers marching through Frederick." Lower on the right is a facsimile of the letter in response to General Early. Next to it is a photograph of a United States flag over the Barbara Fritchie house.
Also see . . . Monocacy Battlefield Markers. This marker is among several describing the battle of Monocacy, to "tour" the battlefield see the related markers.
(Submitted on November 4, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
By Craig Swain, September 9, 2007
3. View of Frederick from the Overlook
Frederick stands in the valley, with the spires of the churches standing out prominently. In the background are the Catoctin Mountains, with the gap used by General Braddock in 1755. The Old National Road passes through the gap, at a point now known as Braddock Heights. The same gap was later used by Federals and Confederates alike during the Civil War on several occasions.
Categories. • War, US Civil •
By Craig Swain, September 9, 2007
4. Some of the Clustered Spires
A view from downtown Frederick captures some of the spires noted in the poem. For anyone fond of church architecture, Frederick offers several treasures worthy of note.
5. Clustered Spires of FrederickClose-up of photo on marker
6. Barbara FritchieClose-up of illustration on marker
7. Letter To General Early
To Lieut. General Early, Commanding the Confederate forces in Maryland.
Wm. G. Cole, Mayor of the City of Frederick,
The undersigned citizens of Frederick City respectfully represent, that the assessment of Two
hundred thousand dollars imposed upon the City of Frederick will bear most ominously upon the people
of this place. We beg leave to represent that the populations of our city does not exceed 8000- that
the entire basis of the city, does not exceed two million. two hundred thousand dollars. that the
tax now levied at the rate of 37 1/2 cents on the 100$ produces 8000$ as the annual corporate tax of the city.
The assessment imposed by your order will take from the Citizens of this place nearly one-tenth of the taxable property of the city. The Corporation by assuming this large debt, has met your requisition, and paid the amount. In view therefore of the great and onerous burden thrown upon our citizens, many of whom are indigent and unable to bear the loss, and as the assessment made in other places in Maryland is relatively much less than that imposed upon our city, We respectfully request you to reconsider and abate the said assessment.
Fredck, July 9, 1864†††† † ††
Very respectfully submitted,
Close-up of image on marker
8. Confederate Soldiers March Through FrederickClose-up of photo on marker
By Allen C. Browne, August 9, 2015
9. John Greenleaf Whittier
This 1833 portrait of John Greenleaf Whittier by Deacon Robert Peckham hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
“The son of a Quaker farmer, John Greenleaf Whittier was a poetic prodigy. In 1826 one of his poems was noticed by the antislavery journalist William Lloyd Garrison, creating a lifelong bond between the two men. Garrison supported Whittier's career as a newspaper editor, and his polemics converted Whittier to abolitionism. Dedicating himself to the cause, Whittier worked tirelessly as an antislavery speaker and writer, and was one of the founders of the Republican Party. Whittier was ostracized for his stands: he was mobbed while speaking, and the offices of his newspaper, the Pennsylvania Freeman, were burned to the ground. His early verse was bucolic, but later he put his poetry into the service of abolitionism, collecting his antislavery poems in Voices of Freedom (1846). His reputation now rests on his poetic engagement with the issue of slavery.” — National Portrait Gallery
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 4, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 3,083 times since then and 80 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on September 22, 2010, by John Miller of Rising Sun, Maryland. 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 4, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on May 28, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 9. submitted on August 10, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.