"Civil War Town" Frederick by Rixie
Frederick Travel Guide: 72 reviews and 148 photos
The town of Frederick is in western Maryland, an hour's drive from the Baltimore-Washington metro area but almost a world away. Driving through the countryside here, past the cornfields, round bales of hay, and flat-fronted, 2-story houses with narrow porches, you can imagine what it looked like in the 1860s. To complete the time warp: In Frederick, you're close enough to hear cannon fire from Civil War re-enactments at the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, battlefield.
This photo shows 1 of 3 covered bridges remaining in the area. It's a reconstruction, the original bridge having been destroyed by an arsonist.
Thanks to VTer rmdw and the Bennington website, I now know why most covered bridges are red: iron ochre was an inexpensive pigment.
The Barbara Frietchie (also spelled Fritchie) House is in Frederick...well, sort of. This structure is the second replica built with materials from the original house, which was torn down in 1868.
Many American children (including me) were taught in school to recite the patriotic poem, "Barbara Frietchie." Written by abolitionist poet John Greenleaf Whittier, it tells of an elderly woman who defies Confederate troops by waving the American flag from her window, and scolds General "Stonewall" Jackson. Although most historians agree that the event never happened, Barbara Frietchie was a real person.
When my daughter was 11, she studied the poem in school and made up a rap version: "Shoot me instead, don't shoot the flag, for I am nothing but an old grey hag... BOOM ch, boom boom ch!"
by John Greenleaf Whittier
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 trees fruited deep,
Fair as the 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
Of noon looked down, and saw not one.
Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
Bowed with her fourscore years and ten;
Bravest of all in Frederick town,
She took up the flag the 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 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 of yon gray head
Dies like a dog! March on!" he said.
All day long through Frederick street
Sounded the tread of marching 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
shone over it with a warm good-night.
Barbara Frietchie'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 Frietchie'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!
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