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Civil War re-enactors honor soldier in graveside ceremony

January 14, 2007|by MARLO BARNHART

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.VA. - The re-enactors outnumbered the public Saturday afternoon in a rainy graveside ceremony for a fallen Confederate soldier.

But those showers didn't dampen the spirits of those who gathered this weekend to commemorate the 145th anniversary of several key Civil War battles in Morgan and Hampshire counties in Virginia (now West Virginia).

The graveside ceremony honored Pvt. William Henry Harrison Lowe, a 19-year-old member of the 1st Georgia during the Civil War who is believed to have died of pneumonia during Gen. Stonewall Jackson's campaign in the area in early 1862.

Berkeley Springs resident Sterling Ambrose was dressed in full Civil War gear Saturday, all part of the weekend event commemorating what became known as the Bath-Romney campaign. Bath is the former name of Berkeley Springs.

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His son, Robert Ambrose, was one of the organizers of the event, which concludes today with an encampment from noon to 4 p.m. at Berkeley Springs State Park.

The Ambroses, along with Jim Charles Bailey and his father, Jim Henry Bailey, who also lives in Berkeley Springs, are part of the 5th Virginia and 9th Virginia re-enactors.

At the Oakland Cemetery, where Lowe is buried, a wreath was laid Saturday afternoon as a gentle rain began to fall.

"There was a reading and prayer," said Sterling Ambrose, who pointed out that the re-enactors had a marker placed at Lowe's grave two years ago.

Tricia Strader, a Berkeley Springs resident, was dressed as Belle Boyd, a Civil War figure who lived in Martinsburg, W.Va. She is a re-enactor and secretary of the 5th Virginia.

Her parents, Frank and Vivian Strader, also are active in the group.

While Strader was drawn to Belle Boyd, her parents were attracted to Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

"We started doing our own research," Tricia Strader said. "Then we hooked up with the Ambroses a few years ago."

At that time, the Ambroses already were studying the history of the Bath-Romney campaign, she said.

Although the 5th Virginia group is small, there is a lot of enthusiasm. Tricia Strader said one of the newer members came all the way from Canada for the weekend events.

"My son got me into re-enacting, but I got him into history," Sterling Ambrose said.




If you go



What: 145th anniversary commemoration of the Bath-Romney campaign

When: Today, encampment from noon to 4 p.m.

Where: Berkeley Springs (W.Va.) State Park

For information, go to www.geocities.com/bathromneycampaign

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