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?


2 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.

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