Gateway to the Classics: Good Stories for Great Holidays by Frances Jenkins Olcott
Good Stories for Great Holidays by  Frances Jenkins Olcott

A Flag Incident

BY M. M. THOMAS (Adapted)

When marching to Chattanooga the corps had reached a little wooded valley between the mountains. The colonel, with others, rode ahead, and, striking into a bypath, suddenly came upon a secluded little cabin surrounded by a patch of cultivated ground.

At the door an old woman, eighty years of age, was supporting herself on a crutch. As they rode up she asked if they were "Yankees," and upon their replying that they were, she said: "Have you got the Stars and Stripes with you? My father fought the Tories in the Revolution, and my old eyes ache for a sight of the true flag before I die."

To gratify her the colonel sent to have the colors brought that way. When they were unfurled and planted before her door, she passed her trembling hands over them and held them close to her eyes that she might view the stars once more. When the band gave her "Yankee Doodle," and the "'Star-Spangled Banner," she sobbed like a child, as did her daughter, a woman of fifty, while her three little grandchildren gazed in wonder.

They were Eastern people, who had gone to New Orleans to try to improve their condition. Not being successful, they had moved from place to place to better themselves, until finally they had settled on this spot, the husband having taken several acres of land here for a debt.

Then the war burst upon them. The man fled to the mountains to avoid the conscription, and they knew not whether he was alive or dead. They had managed to support life, but were so retired that they saw very few people.

Leaving them food and supplies, the colonel and the corps passed on.

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