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Would a Lady Tell a Lie © Jennie Avila

Guitar and Vocal - Jennie Avila · Violins - Jay Ansill · Upright Bass - Ralph Gordon

Young Maria Kretzer defied Confederate orders to surrender her family's grand Union Flag when the rebels occupied Sharpsburg after the Battle of South Mountain. An article written by military archivist, Fred Cross, was published in The Daily Mail of Hagerstown, MD on April 9, 1931, a month after Maria's death. In Cross's interview Maria recalled that when the rebel soldiers knocked at her door and demanded the Yankee flag she answered, "I knew somebody would tell you about that flag, and rather than have it fall into your hands, I laid it in ashes." When the Confederate army left Sharpsburg, the infamous flag reappeared and Maria was accused of lying...

"Would a Lady Tell a Lie?"
"No, I wouldn't tell a lie,
I laid our flag in ashes"

The Kretzer family flew a proud red white and blue
So grand, it stretched across Main (street)
They were Union through and through
So when the town turned gray, they knew
That the Southern sympathizers would complain

Chorus: "Would a lady tell a lie?"
"No, I wouldn't tell a lie."
"You must surrender your flag, miss! Would a lady tell a lie?"
"No, I wouldn't tell a lie, I laid our flag in ashes."

The daughter of John, Maria put a brave face on
And answered the door, "Yes, we're the Kretzers."
The Confederates said, "Now
We occupy this town,
We command your Yankee flag to be surrendered!"


Before the Rebels took the town
Maria took Old Glory down
Wrapped it in a box, then John interned it
Way out back in the smokehouse ash heap
So the Rebels would believe
By the sound of simple truth, that she had burned it

After Antietam's fray, the Rebels marched away
And the Kretzer's flag was flown again, renewed
Some cursed her as a liar
But there were ashes, no fire
What Maria had sworn was absolutely true.