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Ehrlich commends gallery, artist

August 17, 2006

Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich presented a letter to Benjamin Art Gallery LLC, commending the gallery and Civil War artist Mort Knstler on the world premiere release of Knstler's latest image titled "Maryland, My Maryland."

"Working in the State House, you develop a quick appreciation for Maryland's sense of history. Maryland's history precedes the United States itself. Much of early American history unfolded across our landscape ... I commend Mr. Knstler for his latest artistic achievement," Ehrlich said.

The governor will be viewing the painting sometime during the exhibition.

The image depicts one of the war's most dramatic moments. In June 1863, Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia forded the Potomac River into Maryland, heading to Pennsylvania in what Lee hoped would be a decisive victory on Northern soil.

The troops of Gen. James J. Pettigrew's Brigade crossed on June 25 at Shepherdstown, W.Va. With shoes, clothing and cartridge boxes slung on their rifles and held high above their heads, the men waded to the opposite shore.

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There, someone began singing "Maryland, My Maryland." The 26th North Carolina Infantry's regimental band took up the tune and continued to play it until thousands of soldiers were across.

It was a triumphant moment for the men in gray and butternut, but just miles ahead across the Pennsylvania state line was a quiet hamlet called Gettysburg. There, the great battle that Lee sought would be waged, but it would not end in Southern victory.

Knstler will be at the gallery on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Limited edition paper prints are available for purchase.

Admission to the gallery is free, and the facility is handicapped-accessible.

The gallery is at 1303 Pennsylvania Ave. in Hagerstown. For information, call 301-797-4775 or go to www.benjamin artgallery.com.

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