Bought some 1906 postcards recently. Though accounts of the flag incident vary and are disputed—as is spelling of her name—the episode of Confederate troops marching through Frederick, Maryland early in the Civil War most likely occurred. The poem was written in couplets but presented here in paragraphs in the interest of space. The other postcards are some of the better ones I purchased.

Bought some 1906 postcards recently. Though accounts of the flag incident vary and are disputed—as is spelling of her name—the episode of Confederate troops marching through Frederick, Maryland early in the Civil War most likely occurred. The poem was written in couplets but presented here in paragraphs in the interest of space. The other postcards are some of the better ones I purchased.

“Barbara Frietchie”

By John Greenleaf Whittier, 1863

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

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 the 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 over the stars above look down

On thy stars below in Frederick town!