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'Gone With the Wind' event to benefit museum

November 30, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

If all goes according to plan, a Saturday program of Civil War music and a screening of "Gone With the Wind" will yield explosive results - two fully functioning cannons for the USS Constellation, the last surviving warship of the Civil War.

As part of a fundraiser for the USS Constellation Museum in Baltimore, a portion of ticket sales from the concert/movie screening at The Maryland Theatre will help the museum pay for two Civil War cannons for the ship's spar deck, said Chris Rowsom, the museum's executive director. The Philadelphia-based 28th Pennsylvania Regimental Band will perform Civil War-era music. "Gone With the Wind" will be shown after the concert.

The USS Constellation, docked in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, has ties to local history, said event organizer Stephen Bockmiller.

The ship's second in command, Lt. Donald McNeill Fairfax, retired in Hagerstown (his home still stands at 163 S. Potomac St.) and was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery, Bockmiller said.

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Fairfax served on the USS Constellation from 1859 to 1860, when it was among a squadron off the coast of Africa. The U.S. Navy was there to prevent Americans from importing slaves, as the importation of slaves to the U.S. was illegal at the time. During Fairfax's deployment, the Constellation intercepted 705 captives and set them free in Liberia, according to Bockmiller's research.

"He was probably Hagerstown's most unheralded Civil War hero," said Bockmiller, a Civil War researcher and member of the USS Constellation Museum's advisory board. Bockmiller also is zoning administrator for the City of Hagerstown, which is not involved with the event.

After a seven-year, $9 million structural renovation to the ship, the USS Constellation Museum reopened for public tours in 1999. Rowsom said the USS Constellation Museum has been working on smaller projects - such as rearming the ship with historically accurate cannons - and since 1999 has spent about $500,000 more.

Upcoming renovations could cost an additional $500,000, and museum officials hope to complete all of the renovations in two years, Rowsom said. The cannons, which will cost about $27,000, would be used for demonstrations.




If you go ...



WHAT: "Gone With the Wind" screening and concert by the 28th Pennsylvania Regimental Band

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2

WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

COST: $25

MORE: Three area restaurants - Michelle's, 43 South Restaurant and Moose's American Bistro (formerly Roccoco) - will offer $25 dinner specials to ticket holders. For tickets, go to www.mdtheatre.org or call 301-790-2000.

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