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Fight on to save battelfield land

January 25, 1999

South Mtn. BattlefieldBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




Just three days before the Battle of Antietam, 25,000 Union troops clashed with 10,000 Confederate soldiers at the two mountain gaps between Boonsboro and Middletown, Md.

About 5,000 soldiers perished during that Sept. 14, 1862, battle at South Mountain, which is re-enacted each year by the Central Maryland Heritage League.

More than 3,000 people attended last year's event and organizers are planning for this year's battle to be held Sept. 11 and 12.

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Some $7,000 raised from last year's re-enactment was used as a down payment to purchase five acres of land on Foxes Gap, according to Russ Richards of the Central Maryland Heritage League.

That was the first year the event has made money, he said.

The organization is hoping to raise at least as much this year, he said.

He said by limiting expenses and economizing, they were able to turn a profit.

The organization is buying up the land for the preservation of the battlefield, said Richards.

"We want to save it now before it's made into a development," he said.

Richards said they are looking for participants for the event. It costs $5 to take part.

About 1,000 re-enactors gathered at the battlefield in 1998.

Other volunteers are needed to help prepare the site, direct traffic, set up events and take registration.

"A variety of different skills are needed," he said.

Monetary contributions are always welcome, he said.

This year's event will also include a brandy and cigar social, said Richards.

"We try to do different things each year," he said.

Those interested can call him at 301-241-4707.

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