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3,000 re-enactors expected at South Mountain

August 09, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

BOONSBORO - It may not have the bluster of last summer's Antietam battle re-enactment, but next month's re-creation of the Battle of South Mountain will mark the second straight year Washington County has hosted Maryland's largest Civil War battle re-enactment, organizers said.

"Once again, Washington County is going to have the biggest," said Russ Richards, who has organized the event for the last two years.

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Richards said he expects 3,000 re-enactors for the Sept. 12-13 event, up dramatically from the 100 who showed up for the first year in 1996. Last year, the event drew 800 re-enactors, but Richards said it will benefit from not having to compete with Antietam this year.

Richards said he knows the re-enactment will be the largest in the state because none of the other re-enactments that have been advertised in trade publications are close to the scale of the South Mountain re-creation.

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Richards said the Battle of South Mountain is a historically important battle that is often overshadowed by the more famous Battle of Antietam three days later.

About 25,000 Union troops clashed with 10,000 Confederate soldiers at the two mountain gaps between Boonsboro and Middletown, Md., on the afternoon of Sept. 14, 1862.

"It's the reason Antietam happened," Richards said.

The re-enactment will again be held on a 150-acre farm owned by the town of Boonsboro off Monroe Road.

"We'll need it all this year," Richards said.

Planned activities include guest speakers, and battle formations, Richards said. Camps will be open to the public and a Civil War wedding will be conducted on Sunday, he said.

All proceeds from the re-enactment will be donated to the Central Maryland Heritage League, Richards said.

Last year, he said the re-enactment raised about $500, but he said the group hopes to raise between $15,000 and $20,000 this year.

Richards said a prison work crew from Maryland Correctional Training Center will help prepare the farm for the re-enactment this Saturday.

Richards said he is still looking for businesses to help sponsor the re-enactment. Anyone who is interested can contact the Central Maryland Heritage League at 301-371-7090.

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