Re-enactors clash with 21st century

June 06, 2002|by KEVIN CLAPP

Union and Confederate troops were locked in battle, another skirmish unfolding on the Washington County landscape.

Arms at the ready, each side exchanged fire when a decidedly 22nd century sound pierced the Funkstown sky: The wail of the town's alarm, evidently set off by the shock of so many rifles firing.

Such is life during the annual Battle of Funkstown re-enactment, where up to 300 Civil War buffs dress up in period garb to recreate a confrontation that followed the bloodshed at Gettysburg, Pa., during the battle between the states.

This weekend, troops will once again line up at Funkstown Community Park and along Baltimore Street in Funkstown to present a living history lesson of a battle with nearly 500 casualties.


And they will endure the occasional intrusion of modern convenience, such as the car parked in the street or the alarm that accidentally sounds.

"It is sort of a shock, especially the alarm last year because all of a sudden you hear this urnghhhhhhh," says battle organizer Ron Benedict. "It is a distraction, it really is. Especially if you're trying to concentrate on what you're doing and listen to orders from officers."

During the two-day event, Funkstown Community Park will house re-enactors, with their camps open to the public. Throughout the weekend they will meet in mock combat mimicking the actual battle, which unfolded during 14 hours on July 10, 1863.

Though not fought on the scale of the battles at Gettysburg or Antietam, Benedict estimates between 15,000 and 20,000 troops squared off across a four-mile strip stretching from Funkstown to the current location of Hagerstown Community College.

Benedict, 48, enjoys re-enactments, having participated in them for 21 years. He loves history, but also looks forward to educating the public about a battle that could get lost in the shuffle historically.

"You hear about the big battles, Antietam, Gettysburg, Shiloh, Vicksburg and the little ones are a sentence or a word in most literature you read, if they're mentioned at all," Benedict says. "It is educational to see, up close, an actual battle."

If you go . . .

Battle of Funkstown

Saturday, June 8

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Camps open, Funkstown Community Park

10 a.m. - Street battle, Baltimore Street between Antietam Street and Chewsville Road. Road will be closed for about an hour.

2 p.m. - Field battle, Funkstown Community Park

7 p.m. - Dance, Funkstown Community Park

Sunday, June 9

9 a.m. - Camps open to public, Funkstown Community Park

2 p.m. - Field battle, Funkstown Community Park

Camps close following field battle.

Free admission. For information, call 301-393-8753 or go to on the Web.

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