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'Hagerstown in the Civil War' commemorates 150th anniversary of conflict

City Planner Stephen R. Bockmiller signed book at Visitors Welcome Center

April 12, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • City Planner Stephen R. Bockmiller hands Ed Woodward his signed copy of "Hagerstown in The Civil War" Tuesday during a book signing for the new Civil War book.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War was commemorated in Hagerstown on Tuesday with the release of a book that traces the city's role before, during and after the bloody conflict.

"Hagerstown in the Civil War" was written by City Planner Stephen R. Bockmiller. He spent a few hours Tuesday signing the book for several dozen people who purchased it at the Visitor Welcome Center on North Potomac Street.

"I like telling stories that haven't been fully told before," Bockmiller said. "Hagerstown kind of got eclipsed by Antietam and South Mountain and other activities. It was a story that needed to be told."

The five-chapter, 128-page book features more than 100 pictures of people and places that played a prominent role in the city's Civil War history — from John Brown's stay in Hagerstown just before his failed 1859 raid at Harpers Ferry, W.Va., to Dwight Eisenhower's visit to rededicate Washington Confederate Cemetery in 1961.

Husband and wife, Ann and David Eberly, said they moved to Hagerstown in 2007 and appreciate the city's Civil War heritage.

David Eberly said he purchased the book to learn more about Hagerstown's role in the war.

"You always discover something new," he said. "When you live in an area like this, we have an historical experience equal to any other part of the world."

Hagerstown resident Jeff Brown said he heard three months ago that the book was going to be released and has been waiting to buy it ever since.

"I'm a Civil War enthusiast and a Hagerstown enthusiast," Brown said. "Hagerstown really is the crossroads of the Civil War. I'm sure there's stuff in here I haven't heard before." Bockmiller said the book project inadvertently started about three years ago while the planning department was putting together old photographs to incorporate on historic markers downtown. After extensive research, they discovered that there was enough material to compile into a book.

He said he wrote the book at the city's request.

"I get no royalties out of this," Bockmiller said. "It's part of the city's 150th commemoration of the Civil War."

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Bockmiller said proceeds from the book's sales will go to the city's General Fund.

"Hagerstown in the Civil War" may be purchased for $21.99 at the Visitor Welcome Center at 6 N. Potomac St. in Hagerstown.

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