's famous poem has been several times shown to be founded on a myth; but as it is being continually republished in collections of his poems, and has been introduced into several school readers which are widely circulated, it seems proper that we should place in permanent form the refutation of this slander of “Stonewall
and the brave men he led:
I have just read a communication to the Sun
purporting to set. forth certain facts in relation to the life and character of the late Barbara Frietchie
, the heroine of Whittier
's celebrated war poem.
It may not be improper to state that I am the nephew of “Dame Barbara
,” and had the settling up of her husband's estate in the capacity of administrator.
This necessarily threw me into frequent communication with that aged and venerable dame.
, my venerable aunt, was not a lady of twenty-two summers, as your correspondent alleges, but an ancient dame of ninety-six winters, when she departed this life; and it is but truth to add that she never saw the inside of the Federal
in this city.
Nor did she depart this life in September, 1863, but died on the 18th of December, 1862.
Nor did any of the Federal
soldiers from the hospital attend the old lady's remains to their last resting place.
This, to my certain knowledge, was a fact, no orders to that effect having been given.
Therefore, none of these convalescing invalid soldiers were at my old aunt's funeral.
So much for this branch of your New York correspondent's statement.
Now, a word as to the waving of the Federal
flag in the face of the Rebels
by Dame Barbara
on the occasion of Stonewall Jackson
's march through Frederick
Truth requires me to say that Stonewall Jackson
, with his troops, did not pass Barbara Frietchie
's residence at all; but passed up what in this city is popularly called “The mill alley,” about three hundred yards above her residence, then passed due west towards Antietam
, and thus out of the city.
But another and still stronger fact with regard to this matter may be here presented, viz: the poem by Whittier
represents our venerable relative (then ninety-six years of age) as nimbly ascending to her attic window and waving her small Federal flag defiantly in the face of Stonewall Jackson
Now, what are the facts at this point?
was, at the moment of the passing of that distinguished General and his forces through Frederick
, bedridden and helpless, and had lost the power of locomotion.
She could at this period only move, as she was moved, by the help of her attendants.
These are the true and stern facts, proving that Whittier
's poem upon this subject is fiction, pure fiction, and nothing else, without even the remotest semblance or resemblance of fact.