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Stonewall's exploits portrayed

Three-day re-enactment commemorates Bath-Romney Campaign

Three-day re-enactment commemorates Bath-Romney Campaign

January 19, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.VA. ? A living history re-enactment of the Civil War's 1862 Bath-Romney Campaign began Friday afternoon in Berkeley Springs State Park, and the snow and cold weather painted a true picture.

The three-day event commemorates the 146th anniversary of the campaign by the Bath-Romney Campaign Historical and Preservation Association.

James Bailey Sr., association president, said this year's goal is to raise awareness of the campaign and to focus on educating the public.

A living history encampment began in the park Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. The camp will be open today from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

About 25 men were expected to participate in the living history events, Bailey Sr. said.

A Confederate headquarters tent was set up, and a campfire was going to provide warmth against the cold.

In 1862, it was "a stinging cold," James Bailey Jr. said, based on his research.

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When Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson led his army of 8,500 men on Jan. 1, 1862, from Winchester, Va., the weather was warm, but soon turned bitter cold, with sleet, freezing rain and snow, and many men suffered from sickness and frostbite, according to historical accounts.

Jackson's army attacked the Union garrison in Bath on Jan. 4 and forced the Union soldiers to retreat to Sir John's Run. Most escaped by crossing the Potomac River into Maryland.

Jackson's plan was to capture Hancock, but the Union troops were reinforced, and Jackson withdrew his army to Unger's Store and turned west toward Romney, W.Va.

Sterling Ambrose of Berkeley Springs, who is portraying Jackson this weekend, said he has been participating in Civil War re-enactments for 10 years.

"I enjoy history," he said.

Ambrose, 58, said he has participated in re-enactments "all over," including the Battle of Antietam, as well as New Market and Cedar Creek, Va.

"We try to keep it alive and to remember," he said.

A presentation on the campaign's history, including maps and pictures, was to be given Friday night by James Bailey Jr. at Francis Asbury United Methodist Church.

"We want people to join the organization and to come to meetings and help promote the Bath-Romney Campaign," he said.

The nonprofit organization needs grant funding to provide signage to raise awareness of the campaign in Morgan County and promote heritage tourism, Bailey Sr. said.

Bailey Jr. said the living history participants are not necessarily organization members.

"It's a PR campaign," he said. "The men like to help draw attention through the enactments."

Some of the men intended to camp out Friday and Saturday nights. The camps at Dent Hill and Sir John's Run are closed to the public, Bailey Jr. said.

This is the first time the three-day event is being held in Berkeley Springs. Most of last year's commemoration took place in the Unger's Store area, Bailey Jr. said.




If you go



What: Living history events commemorating the 146th anniversary of the Bath-Romney Campaign

When: Today, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.

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

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

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