Like generals mapping battle strategy, organizers are planning what is expected to be the United States' largest Civil War event in 1997. The 135th Anniversary Re-enactment of the Battle of Antietam will be Friday, Sept. 12, through Sunday, Sept. 14, on the 612-acre Artz Farm, south of the intersection of Interstate 70 and Md. 65 just outside Hagerstown.
Three battles will be re-enacted with an expected 10,000 to 12,000 participants. More than a month before the event, 7,200 re-enactors already had signed up to recreate our country's "bloodiest day." There also will be demonstrations by artillery, infantry, cavalry, medical corps and United States Sanitary Commission, and sutlers who will sell 19th-century wares.
Unlike leaders of long ago, organizers have arranged for 200 portable toilets, a comfort tent for diaper changing and baby nursing, car parking, food booths and play-by-play radio coverage of the battles. About 50,000 spectators are anticipated. The battle broadcasts are designed to help people understand what's going on without intruding on the authentic atmosphere as loudspeakers would.