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“ [438] Rebels” as they passed through Frederick. The story told by the Frederick correspondent of the Sun about a flag being stricken from the hand of a Mrs. Quantrill by one of our officers, is, I think, as groundless as that told in Whittier's verses. If any such incident had occurred, and it had been the subject of reprimand or disapproval by his superior officers, I think I would have heard of it. I have witnessed a number of instances of the display of small flags, or the Union colors, as they were called, by ladies in the enemy's country as we passed through their towns, but I never heard of an instance in which any violence or rudeness was used by our officers or soldiers on such occasions; though, when the exhibitions became obtrusive, our boys were always ready with a good-natured witticism or jest that put an end to these exhuberant displays of patriotism. I have also seen ladies, even in Pennsylvania, wave their white handkerchiefs to our troops. Whoever is disposed to claim the honor of either of the two incidents in Frederick that I have mentioned, is entirely welcome to do so.

I will add that I have been informed by a gentleman who was for a long time a citizen of Frederick that Mrs. Barbara Frietchie, or her husband, was a descendant of one of the Hessians that were brought over to thrash into obedience another set of “Rebels” ; and if she had been the heroine of the incident which Mr. Whittier's prolific imagination has created, she would only have been acting in accordance with the traditional principles of the family. I believe Mr. Whittier's Quaker ancestors were somewhat in sympathy with the cause for which the Hessians fought, and hence, perhaps, his admiration for the supposed exploit of one of their descendants. I have seen within the last year or two a letter or statement from Barbara Frietchie's niece denying that her aunt had hoisted the flag or been fired on, but saying that she had driven off some of “the ragged, lousy Rebels” from her house with a broomstick — and who would not run from an old woman with a scurrilous tongue in her mouth and a broomstick in her hands?

J. A. Early, Lynchburg, April 26, 1875.

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