Jackson with hi-. troops did not pass Barbara Frietchie's residence .it .ill, but passed up what in this city is popularly called "The Mill Alley," about three hundred yards above her residence; then passi-d due west to Antietam, and thus out of the city. But another and stranger fact with regard to this matter may be here presented viz: The poem by Whittier represents our venerable relative (then ninety- six years of a^o, a> nimbly ascending to her attic window and wav- ing her small Federal flag defiantly in the face of Stonewall Jackson's troops. Now, what are the facts at this point ? Dame Barbara was, at the moment of the passing of that distinguished general and his forces through Frederick, bed-ridden 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.
VALERIUS EBERT. Frederick City, Md., August 2jth.
So the deed of " derring do" that challenge a place for Barbara Frietchie alongside of Roman Cloelia or Scottish Katherine Doug- las, vanishes into thin air. The utmost that can be contended for, is that she may have waived a Union flag to welcome Union troops. Even this is highly improbable well-nigh impossible, indeed, for a poor old bedridden dame of ninety-six; but granting it be true, wherein consists the extraordinary heroism of the act? As this myth is an exceedingly tough one to kill, because of its stirring setting, it might be well for "the curious," interested in such matters, to cut out Mr. Ebert's letter and paste it in their scrap books. The myth is sure to "bob up" again. We can all admire Whittier's poem; it is almost a pity that the incident isn't true, but facts are facts, and Dame Barbara, as an actual heroine, must come down from the lofty pedestal upon which the poet has placed her solely by power of ' ' po- etic license."
W. GORDON M'CABE.
Richmond, Va., January .27, 1900.