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Resolution recognizes 149th anniversary of Civil War battles

Battle of South Mountain was a 'turning point' in the war

Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history

September 06, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • Del. Neil C. Parrott, R-Washington, left, Thomas B. Riford, center, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Elizabeth Scott Shatto, director of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, are shown during a presentation Tuesday at the Newcomer House.
By Chris Tilley, Staff Photographer

The big 150th is still a year away, but that doesn't mean local officials plan to let the anniversary of the battles of South Mountain and Antietam pass unnoticed next week.

At a ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the Newcomer House, a Civil War museum at Antietam National Battlefield, Del. Neil C. Parrott, R-Washington, presented a resolution from the Maryland's House of Delegates in recognition of the 149th anniversary of the two historic battles.

The Battle of South Mountain was fought Sept. 14, 1862, for control of three mountain passes at Crampton's, Turner's and Fox's Gaps. The Battle of Antietam followed three days later on Sept. 17.

The resolution presented Tuesday recognized the "historic significance of the battles, which paved the way for the release of the Emancipation Proclamation."

Parrott described the Battle of South Mountain as a "turning point" in the war and the Battle of Antietam as the bloodiest single-day battle in American history.

Parrott said soldiers on both sides showed extreme bravery and fought for causes that they believed were right: emancipation, for the Union soldiers, and states' rights, for the Confederate soldiers.

"Of course, we're very thankful today that we have the United States of America, that we are one country, and that slavery ended with the end of the Civil War," Parrott said.

Thomas B. Riford, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, offered similar thoughts.

"The battles that happened here in Washington County, while horrific in what happened on those days, a lot of good came out of it, including, following the Battle of Antietam, the release of the Emancipation Proclamation, which established that the Civil War was about ending slavery, not about some other esoteric theory, perhaps," Riford said.

To mark the 149th anniversary of the Battle of South Mountain this year, South Mountain State Battlefield will provide real-time walking tours of Fox's Gap and Crampton's Gap on Sept. 14.

 The Fox's Gap Tour will begin at 10 a.m. at the South Mountain Inn Parking lot, and the Crampton's Gap tour will begin at 3 p.m. at Gathland State Park. More information is available from the battlefield at 301-432-8065.

On Sept. 16-18, Antietam National Battlefield will host a full schedule, including special battlefield hikes, two concerts by the Wildcat Band on Saturday, a presentation titled "The Archaeology of America's Bloodiest Day," and living history artillery and infantry firing demonstrations throughout the weekend.

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