Rebels in Frederick, but When?

Published:May 8, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe

On page 37 of his book Antietam: The Photographic Legacy of America’s Bloodiest Day (1978), William A. Frassanito writes:

One of the most unusual Civil War photographs uncovered in recent years is a candid scene taken from the second-story window of a building on Market Street in Frederick by an unidentified but probably local cameraman. The view shows a column of armed Confederate infantrymen halted in front of J. Rosenstock’s Dry Good and Clothing Store. Ever since its first widespread publication in the mid-1960s, this photograph has presented as having been recorded sometime during the Confederate occupation of Frederick in 1862 (September 6–10).

During the Maryland Campaign, in other words, and just about a week before the climactic Battle of Antietam. But ever careful, Frassanito suggests that the image could just as easily have been taken in 1864, when Confederate generals Jubal A. Early and John A. McCausland were making trouble in the area. So which was it? Frassanito didn’t know, and a few years later, a letter to the editor of a Frederick newspaper asked readers for help. From the Frederick News-Post, “Rebels in Frederick?”, February 4, 1980:

Perhaps some News-Post reader may be able to add information about the time, place, and cameraman. I note that the General Director of Frederick City of 1886 gives the address of a Rosenstock Brothers store at 3 East Patrick STreet rather than on Market Street. Was this always called a Dry Good rather than a Dry Goods Store?

A related footnote in the Frassanito book on page 290 refers to an article by Frederick Ray on rare photographs showing “Rebel and Yankee Troops in Frederick” in the  Civil War Times Illustrated Vol. 4 (April 1965) pages 22–24. Two other photographs there, alleged to have been taken on the same street, show Union soldiers during winter conditions (bare trees).

All of which is to ask, dear Internet, what more do we know thirty-two years later?

Discussion

3 Comments on “Rebels in Frederick, but When?”

    1. Steve Turkel

      I presume, based on other descriptions of the photo and the 3 East Patrick Street address of the dry goods store, that the troops in the ranks on the street are facing West. Unless there was a lot of counter marching during the Confederates’ 1864 visit, the Confederates came through Frederick from West to East in 1864 on their way to attack the City of Warshington. So, I believe the photo was taken during their first, 1862, sojourn in Frederick County just prior to the battle of Antietam.

      1. Paul Bolcik

        After 2 or 3 years of looking for the answers to the many mysteries involved with this very important photograph from the conflict, Erik Davis and myself spent countless hours searching in every direction possible. The story has now appeared in 3 magazines, C.C.W.P. “Battlefield Photographer” April 2018, Civil War “Monitor” Summer 2018 vol. B no. 2 page 24-25, “Frederick Magazine” March 2019 pg’s. 102-108. It also appeared in the Washington Post newspaper “John Kelly’s Washington” col. on line, evening, of June 5, 2018 & newspaper paper print edition “metro section” page B 3 June 6, 2018. I related to John Kelly in an interview, the situation about the lack of bayonets and no scabbards also. The situation is as follows. Less than 1 in 10,000 wounds examined by Union army surgeons during the conflict where caused by bayonets or swords. This is documented fact, from the O.R. “war of the rebellion”. Perhaps a few soldiers, maybe a handful at most, where stabbed by bayonets and bled to death before reaching a field hospital. My comments created a fire storm of comments from people who think they know civil war history? Yet, thousands of soldiers where taken prisoner during the conflict, and why was that? Did a soldier with a bayonet affixed to the end of a rifle that was not loaded stand a chance against those that had loaded rifles? No, they would have been toast. The history of the battle at Rappahannock Bridge, Virginia on November 7, 1863 proves this fact. In a half hours time, on a cold windy November evening as the sun was going down, about 2,000 Confederates of the 2nd Corps of Lee’s army surrendered, simply because they where caught with un loaded rifles and no bayonet was going to save their asses. I also refer to those still in dis belief that Confederate soldiers still carried bayonets by 1864, to examine the facts, about the large number of bayonets excavated from the A.N.V. winter camps (1863,1864) at Orange, Virginia. Talk to Steve Silvia the publisher of “North South traders Civil War” magazine, and he will gladly supply you with photographs of the numerous bayonets dug from those camps, left behind by Lee’s departing soldiers in the spring of 1864.
        The lack of bayonets seen on the Confederates in the famous Frederick Md. photo is just a small part of the investigation. There is also only one musket sling seen on any of the weapons carried by the men. All of these conditions also factored in to the investigation.
        Recently, a “blog” appeared by Alex Rossino, (on the web), discussing the options about the time frame of the image, 1862 or 1864? Unfortunately it is a flawed study.. His main argument, is that “things wen’t wrong” when Jackson’s troops on the morning of Sept. 10, 1862 marched south from Worman’s mill, to exit Frederick. Nothing “went wrong” and all of Jackson’s men turned right on to Church street to exit the city, (there by bypassing the photo spot). He also uses a flawed testimony from James L. Parsons who was born in March of 1847 and was never on the roster of the 23rd Va. infantry, Therefore, never a soldier in the war, (although his twin brother was conscripted at age 17 in year 1864). it also must be remembered that Gen. T.J. Jackson had Gen. A.P. Hill arrested on Sept. 4, 1862 just 2 days before the A.N.V. arrives in Frederick. Jackson had Hill arrested that day, because Hill’s men where stuck in some traffic jam and not moving. The last thing Jackson needed was for some of his brigade commanders to create some *%#! up situation leaving town to create a traffic jam. Jackson would have blown a head gasket! Every soldier in Jackson’s Corps on Sept. 10, 1862 knows that Hill is under arrest, and they do not want to suffer the same fate because of some screw up. Jackson was still in a foul mood, where upon on Sept. 11, 1862 he has 2 of his private soldiers hung by the neck, swinging from a large oak tree on the entrance to Middletown, Md. The crime? Theft of Apples from an orchard with out payment to the farmer.
        On July 9, 1864 Gen. Jubal Early has to create a plan at 8:00 A.M. in town, about the direction he has to send the bulk of his forces to fight that day. Gen. John C. Breckinridge’s division, (now being led by Gen. John Echols) was in town searching for the supplies, $ banks and depots at about that time. They are most likely the men depicted in the famous photo. They are waiting to go south on S. Market st. (just straight ahead) yet just at that time, the wagon train of Early’s army is moving thru town from W. Patrick st. to S. Market st at about 9:00 A.M. causing the delay of troops seen in the photo. A bottleneck, because everything want’s to go the same direction, (south).
        In September of 1862 Gen. R.E. Lee also gives a directive order to have his troops march in columns of four when leaving Frederick, there by giving the Unionist’s (most of Frederick’s civilian population) and spy’s, the impression that his Army has a greater number of men than it actually held, by having the marching column strung out for many miles in length. The Confederates in the famous Frederick, Md. photo are shown 5 or 6 across.
        The wooden awning seen in the photo, (on the right side) served as the entrance to Dr. Nelson’s dentistry, who opened his business, starting in January 1863, thereby, the awning may not have been erected in September 1862.

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