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Re-enactors out in force in Funkstown

June 21, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

FUNKSTOWN - When Jim Fisher got into Civil War re-enacting just two months ago, his interest was more than passing.

"I found out recently that when my grandfather was 17 years old, he fought in the real First Regiment Cavalry Company,'' Fisher said.

Now the Hagerstown man looks for events such as the 1997 Battle of Funkstown so he can carry on the family tradition. Coincidentally, he fights with the First Regiment re-enactors.

Saturday, Fisher and others braved the 90-degree heat in their authentic wool and flannel uniforms and costumes and hoop skirts for the first full day of the annual re-enactment.

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Today, after a second night of camping out, there will be tours of the Union and Confederate camps and the sutlers' exhibits for the public.

A 10 a.m. church service is planned and at 11:30 a.m., there will be a court martial and mock execution by firing squad.

Another battle is set for 2 p.m. today.

Carin and David Shoop are a typical young couple who spend many of their weekends at "battles'' rather than in more traditional pursuits.

"This is my third re-enactment and my second time at Funkstown,'' Carin Shoop said.

David Shoop said it is one of the more educational ways to spend a weekend.

"I never listened to history in school and now I can't get enough,'' he said.

Chris Strobell of Columbia, Md., said he has always been interested in the Civil War but didn't get involved in re-enactments until about three years ago.

"I found out I had family in the Pennsylvania Cavalry through this endeavor,'' Strobell said.

Officially, the 14-hour Battle of Funkstown was called a draw, but since the Union soldiers withdrew and the Confederates stood their ground, the South likes to call it a victory, according to Ron and Barbara Benedict, two organizers of the event.

The Benedicts met because of their mutual interest in Civil War re-enactments.

While it was humid and muggy Saturday, the number of re-enactors was greater than last year, the Benedicts said. It was hoped the public would turn out in greater numbers, too.

Benedict's interest in the Battle of Funkstown led him to an obscure book entitled, "The Rebel of '61,'' which was written by Jos. Stonebreaker, a Funkstown man who fought in the battle.

A total of 481 soldiers was killed or wounded in the battle, which began at 6 a.m. on July 10, 1863, and ended in early evening, Ron Benedict said.

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