As the forty troops were marching past Barbara Frietchie's house, Stonewall Jackson got a glimpse of that flag, and thus he commanded his soldiers to fire at the banner. But then Barbara Frietchie grabbed the banner, leaned out the window, and yelled at the troops to shoot her if they felt they had to, but she commanded them not to shoot the flag, which she called, "your country's flag." Barbara Frietchie was professing her loyalty to her country and also insisted that that same country still belonged even to the misguided rebels.
Stonewall Jackson's reaction demonstrates that in his heart he felt the old woman was correct; the general's face took on a "blush of shame" and a "shade of sadness." His natural nobility was moved to reveal itself at the "woman's deed and word," and the leader barked the command, "Who touches a hair of yon gray head / Dies like a dog! March on!"