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Funkstown to mark 150th anniversary of Civil War battle

July 17, 2013|By MARIE GILBERT | marieg@herald-mail.com
  • -..-Traffic is halted as the Union and Confederates prepare to battle on Main St in Funkstown-..-Traffic is halted on Baltimore Street in Funkstown as re-enactors portray the Battle of Funkstown. A total of 481 soldiers were killed or wounded in the original, daylong battle on July 10, 1863, during the War Between the States.
Ric Dugan / Copyright 2000

FUNKSTOWN — There will be two types of visitors to Funkstown this weekend: those wearing light summer clothing and those wearing 20 pounds of wool.

Spectators and re-enactors alike will descend on this small community to mark the 150th anniversary of a Civil War battle that took place in early July of 1863.

Visitors will stand on the same streets that saw fierce fighting and try to make sense of the clash between Confederate and Union soldiers that resulted in nearly 500 casualties. They’ll learn about the battle’s role in helping the rebels escape across the Potomac River, as they retreated from Gettysburg, Pa., to the safety of Virginia. They’ll hear stories of bravery on both sides, as well as the courage of the townspeople. And they’ll stroll by houses that stood a century and a half ago, some serving as hospitals for the wounded.

There will be uniformed men and hoop-skirted women, music by the 97th Regimental String Band and a Civil War-period church service.

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And, for a day or two, it will be easy to get lost in time.

The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Funkstown and Day in the Park, featuring free entertainment, food and a fireworks display at dusk, will be Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21.

The Battle of Funkstown/Day in the Park is co-sponsored by The Town of Funkstown and the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The annual event typically draws big crowds, said Rich Gaver, Funkstown town councilman and one of the organizers of the two-day event. But this year, the crowds could come in even larger numbers than usual, lured by the attention surrounding the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

While the re-enactment of the Battle of Funkstown has been held for quite a few years, Gaver said Day in the Park, held at Funkstown Community Park, was added three years ago, as a way to offer something for everybody.

“There’s the battle for Dad, craft vendors for Mom and food and games for the children,” he said.

“Probably about 80 percent of the attendance occurs on Saturday, when two battles are held,” he said. “But Sunday also has a final field battle, as well a pancake breakfast and a Civil War church service.”

More than 200 re-enactors are expected to participate in the battles, many traveling from as far away as North Carolina and Virginia.

“There are bigger events, like the Battle of Gettysburg and Antietam, that draw thousands of re-enactors,” Gaver said. “But re-enactors tell us they like coming here because they are able to fight on the same ground where the actual battle took place. It’s also more laid-back and less regimented.”

The re-enactors will have a presence in town throughout the weekend, Gaver said, starting Saturday morning when they forage for food.

“They actually did that 150 years ago,” Gaver said, “so this is a real part of history.”

All excess food not used by the re-enactors will be donated to St. Paul’s Food Bank.

The re-enactors will be encamped in the community park off of Robert Kline Way, Gaver said, and will participate in a battle on Main Street, which will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday followed by the Battle of Funkstown at 4 p.m. in the park. The park also will be the scene of a field battle on Sunday, beginning at 1 p.m.

While visiting Funkstown, Gaver said people are encouraged to take a walking tour and learn more about the town’s history. Many of the buildings that stood during the Civil War are still standing today, he said. 

Gaver called the Battle of Funkstown/Day in the Park a family-friendly event. 

“You’ll see a guy in uniform and learn a little history,” he said. “And you’ll also enjoy good food, entertainment and fireworks.”

Battle of Funkstown schedule of activities:

Saturday, July 20

 9 a.m. — Foraging in town by the troops for food. 

 9 a.m. — Music by the 97th Regimental String Band, Hudson House Gallery on Baltimore Street.

 10 to 11 a.m. — Street Battle on Main Street 

 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. — Food will be sold by the Funkstown Fire Co., Funkstown Lions Club and the St Paul’s Lutheran Church at Funkstown Community Park pavilion No. 3 in the lower area next to the ball field off Robert Kline Way.

 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. — Craft vendors and businesses will be scattered throughout the west section of the park off of Maple Street

 Noon to 7 p.m. — Kids’ events on the west section of the park off of Maple Street will include face painting, spin art, airbrush tattoos, dunk tank, games and a magician. Kids’ events are free.

 1 p.m. — Music by the 97th Regimental String Band, location will be in the east pavilion No. 4 in the park at the top of the hill off of Robert Kline Way.

 4 to 5 p.m. — The Battle of Funkstown will begin in the east section of the park off of Robert Kline Way.

 8 p.m. — Music by the 97th Regimental String Band at the east pavilion No. 4 on top of the hill off Robert Kline Way.

 Dusk — Fireworks, followed by music provided by the 97th Regimental String Band, at the east pavilion on the top of the hill off Robert Kline Way.

Sunday, July 21

 7 to 11 a.m. — Funkstown Fire Co. hosts an all-you-can-eat breakfast. Cost is $6. Funkstown Community Park pavilion No. 3, lower area next to the ball field off Robert Kline Way.

 10 a.m. — Civil War period church service, east pavilion on top of the hill off Robert Kline Way.

 Noon — music provided by the 97th Regimental String Band at the east pavilion on top of the hill off of Robert Kline Way.

 1 p.m. — Final field battle will begin in the east section of the park off Robert Kline Way.

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