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4,000 troops march on Boonsboro this weekend to re-enact Civil War battles

September 05, 2012|By CHRIS COPLEY | chrisc@herald-mail.com
  • Re-enactors such as these Union troops will meet at Boonsboro Town Farm west of Boonsboro this weekend to re-enact portions of the Battle of South Mountain on Saturday, Sept. 8, and the battle of Antietam on Sunday, Sept. 9.
Courtesy of Chris Anders

BOONSBORO ¿ — Nearly 4,000 soldiers in blue and gray will march into Boonsboro this weekend to commemorate one of the most frightening, horrific episodes in Western Maryland history.

The weekend-long event is titled “Maryland, My Maryland” and honors the 150th anniversary of the Battle of South Mountain and the Battle of Antietam. Tickets are limited to 1,000 for Saturday, Sept. 8, and 1,000 for Sunday, Sept. 9, and are available online or at the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau in downtown Hagerstown.

Tom Riford, president and CEO of the visitors bureau, said the commemoration has been organized by Chris Anders, who is known for putting on historically accurate re-enactments.

Reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, Anders was tramping around the battlefield site near Boonsboro, finalizing details. He said he wanted an authentic experience for re-enactors.

“We’ve got the most authentic re-enactors,” he said.

“The Confederate troops won’t just look like Confederate troops, but like the Confederate troops of 1862,” Anders added. “No modern eyewear. No coolers in the encampment. I want ’em to smell like they did. I even get complaints from re-enactors.”

Tickets are limited in order to give spectators a real sense of how battle went. Saturday’s battle re-creates the battle of Fox’s Gap. Sunday’s battle will evoke the moment during the Battle of Antietam when Confederate Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill led a counterattack against Union Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s troops late in the day. 

Anders said there will be no seating for spectators. An area will be indicated where they may stand or set up chairs. The battles will take place close by, sometimes on three sides of the audience.

But the emphasis is on education, not spectacle. There will be a re-created village of Keedysville where period-dressed civilians will live. Military encampments will also be open to the public.

“Over half the troops coming won’t have tents,” Anders said. “You sleep on the ground. Tie your horse to your foot and use your saddle as your pillow. That’s how they did it.”

But spectators will have a good experience, he said. Authentic, not prettied-up.

“If people are looking for a lot spectacle and smoke, they’re coming to the wrong place,” he said. “There will be some smoke, but the battles will be vicious. They were fast-moving things.”

If you go ...       

WHAT: “Maryland My Maryland,” a re-enactment commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of South Mountain and the Battle of Antietam

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8; 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9

WHERE: Boonsboro Town Farm, 6927 Monroe Road, Boonsboro

COST: Limited tickets available; sold in advance only; no tickets sold at the gate. $25 per day; $40 both days. Free for ages 12 and younger.

CONTACT: Go to www.marylandcampaign150.org.



‘Maryland, My Maryland’ schedule of events       

Saturday, Sept. 8

Civilian camp replicating the Town of Keedysville all day.

9 a.m. — Gates open

10 a.m. — Ted Alexander on the Battle of Antietam

1 p.m. — Re-enactment of Battle of Fox’s Gap

3 p.m. — Cavalry demonstration

5 p.m. — Period play from the 1850s — “Double the Rent”

6 p.m. — Gates close

Sunday, Sept. 9

Encampment closed

10 a.m. — Gates Open

10:30 a.m. —- Lecture on Battle of Antietam, Part II

Noon — Re-enactment Battle of Antietam

2 p.m. — Gates close

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