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Around Funkstown

July 20, 2010|By SUSIE HOFFMAN / 301-790-2413

Battle of Funkstown gave us all a thrill



Did the smoke settle yet? Funkstown feels a tad more empty. Our small hamlet increased its population by almost 200 this past weekend with the occupation by both the troops from the North and the South for the re-enactment of the Battle of Funkstown.

I will be the first to admit that I enjoyed immensely the genteelness of it all. Does that sound strange? An occupation and street battles and field battles and genteelness?

Yes, I must say that as opposite of the spectrum as those things are, that is exactly what this weekend showed us.

What a sight Saturday morning was. To stand on my front porch and look down the street to see mounted cavalrymen followed by lines of troops singing their marching songs, was overwhelming.

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History living and breathing and "yes ma'am-ing" right here in our town.

The very hot and fierce street battle was a sight to see. It was loud and smoky. It was hard fought and well thought out. It was nothing short of intense.

After a repast and refreshments, the troops headed back to their camps to prepare for the afternoon field battle. Walking through the camps, you got a real taste of what life might have been like for troops during the Civil War.

Their accommodations were minimal and sufficient, yet somehow intriguing and inviting. Tables were set with provisions, and cots were made with quilts. Camp fires smoldered with pots emitting wonderful aromas. Boots stood like centuries outside tents, while soldiers stretched out inside finding refuge from the afternoon heat.

Gentlemen jumped to their feet to offer chairs to ladies passing through. Stories and readings were shared that brought into perspective why these accountants, teachers, factory workers and students give up their weekends to bring to our community their passion for history.

I think the most profound thing that I heard came from one of the troops who was reminding his men that more than 60,000 men perished so that today they can don their uniforms and escape into role playing and living history.

These men and women are authentic, from their manner of speech and dress to their food and games.

If you ever get the chance, please make an effort to attend a re-enactment. It's more than just the battles so much more. It's the music and the horseshoes it's the tables laden with fresh vegetables and crocks it's the manners so long forgotten.

It's the appreciation for where we were and the lives lost and the promise of where we are headed and the future unfolding. It's the pristinely uniformed young men with their white clothes asking young ladies to dance the Virginia Reel and then bowing and thanking them.

The re-enactment is a re-enactment of a lost era, not just of lost battles. I can see why they do this.

I was a bit sad to leave the camps after the dance and head back to my air conditioning and television. I wanted to sit by the campfire and share a cup of coffee and hear more stories. I wanted to thank these men and women for not just inviting but welcoming us to their way of life. I wanted to belong there.

So from my family and the residents of Funkstown to all the participants and to John Philips and the mayor and council, the volunteer fire company and all those who made all this past weekend possible, thank you. All those moments that you shared are now forever precious memories.

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