Civil War re-enactors commemorate the Battle of Funkstown with a street battle and more

July 16, 2011|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI |
  • Confederate soldiers advance to battle Union soldiers on Baltimore Street during the street battle in Funkstown Saturday morning as part of the annual Battle of Funkstown and Day in the Park activities.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

FUNKSTOWN, Md. — The rum-pah-pah-pum of the snare and the chipper wail of the fife greeted residents of Funkstown early Saturday morning.

As people hurried to their windows and porches, austere re-enactors dressed as Union soldiers marched by with rifles slung over their shoulders and a star-spangled flag held high. Women in bonnets and long fluffy skirts followed closely behind, rounding up an occasional suspender-snapping child and a jovial, panting, long-haired dog.

Earlier and more quietly, a contingent of Confederate re-enactors had descended from the hills of Funkstown Park, parading, along with their horses, through the streets of the town foraging for food.

The 97th Regimental String Band played period patriotic airs and foot-stomping dances on Baltimore Street, Funkstown's main thoroughfare.

Nearby, a street battle ensued, commemorating the Battle of Funkstown, which took place during the Civil War on July 10, 1863.

These scenes were part of the two-day-long Funkstown Day in the Park and Battle of Funkstown Re-Enactment.

Funkstown Town Councilman Richard L. Gaver said the re-enactment and day in the park used to be held separately. This is the third year that the events have been combined in an effort to appeal to families. Park attractions including craft and food sales, as well as free games, spin art, airbrush tattoos, a dunk tank and a magician, were offered throughout the day until 8 p.m.

"We have something for everybody. Kids' events, vendors, re-enactments, you name it, we have it here in Funkstown," Gaver said. "And that's the whole point behind Funkstown. It is a family community."

The re-enactment was not over when the shots of the street battle stopped firing. A woman portraying a pistol-toting Union wife rebuked a Rebel soldier who attempted to loot the body of her fallen husband.

"I would appreciate it if you'd stay away from our Union bodies," she said. "I can make sure you are dead right now, sir."

Skip and Daniela Himes of Hagerstown took their son Justin, 7, to the re-enactment.

"This is a great way for our son to learn, to know what actually happened in the history of our country," Skip Himes said. "He is seeing the period clothes, not only on the soldiers, but on the women, and how the children are dressed."

Donna Conway of Boonsboro, attended the event with family. She said her granddaughter, Hailey Shelton, 11, also of Boonsboro, is interested in the Civil War.

"I learned about it in school," Hailey said. "But seeing it here is a lot better than reading it out of a book. You can actually see what it was like."

Conway said Funkstown's idea of a fun day in the park along with the re-enactment seemed like "a good thing."

"Our history is a part of us. It's who we are," Conway said. "I think this brings more people out and it might get them interested in the re-enactment side."

Another battle re-enactment was scheduled in the park at 4 p.m. Fireworks were planned at dusk, followed by more music from the 97th Regimental String Band.

Gaver estimated the event would draw between 3,000 and 4,000 people Saturday and today.

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