Events for 150th Anniversary of Civil War Battles at Antietam and South Mountain
Photo attached: (L-R) Chris Anders, Maryland My Maryland Re-enactment Coordinator; Tom Riford, President and CEO, Hagerstown-Washington County CVB; Ed Wenschhof, Acting Superintendent Antietam National Battlefield; Dan Spedden, Park Manager South Mountain Recreation Area.
Press Conference held announcing events for 150th Anniversary of Civil War Battles at Antietam and South Mountain; Large reenactment planned; September 2012 activities planned
(Hagerstown, MD): A press conference was held in Hagerstown on Monday August 8th. The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted the event.
The media event announced the activities and events happening through 2012 at South Mountain State Battlefield (including Washington Monument State Park and Gathland State Park). Dan Spedden is the park manager for the South Mountain Recreation Area, and he said that the state battlefield has a tremendous number of events planned right through the battle anniversary weekend of September 14 and 15, 2012. Additionally new museums will be opening at the park. "These are very professionally designed museums, with new exhibits. The State of Maryland's Park Service is creating whole new attractions for visitors to learn and understand what happened at the first major battle in a northern state." Spedden also talked about the new museum that will show the life and works of George Albert Townsend, credited with being the youngest war correspondent in the Civil War, also America's first syndicated columnist.
Additionally, the acting Superintendent of the Antietam National Battlefield spoke about all the 150th Anniversary planning for the national park battlefield, site of America's single bloodiest day. "We plan on several lectures and symposiums right through the end of 2012. During the period of September 9th through the 22nd, we will have special speakers, tours, real-time hikes, Civil War-era music, a family activities tent, artillery and infantry demonstrations, and on the actual battle anniversary of September 17th, a ceremony and real-time battlefield tours." Ed Wenschhof also said that there will be a lot of historical interpretation events during the year.
Tom Riford outlined the many activities happening in Washington County, in the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, and also he announced for the first time publicly, a planned large-scale re-enactment set for September 8th and 9th of 2012. "This will be a non-profit event, sponsored by the CVB, with more than 4,000 re-enactors, and will re-create the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam." Riford said tickets will be sold through the CVB and the Central Maryland Heritage League, which is a co-host of the reenactment.
Chris Anders is the Maryland My Maryland reenactment coordinator. "This will be a very accurate and professional reenactment that we have planned for near the Town of Boonsboro. We expect re-enactors to come from throughout the United States. All the proceeds for this event will go to the Central Maryland Heritage League to help preserve and interpret South Mountain State Battlefield and also to Brittany's Hope Foundation, a charity that helps with the adoption of special-needs children worldwide."
Anders said that the schedule for the reenactment is the week before the anniversaries for the battles of South Mountain (Sep. 14th) and Antietam (Sep. 17). "This way people can see the action, and learn the history." The re-enactment is planned on private land, near the intersection of alternate 40 and Maryland Route 67. "There was a lot of Civil War history right there at the site where the re-enactment is planned," said Anders.
For more information about the Maryland My Maryland reenactment scheduled for September 2012, see: http://marylandmymaryland.marylandcampaign150.org/. For more information about the 150th Anniversary of the two major Civil War battles in Washington County, and the Central Maryland Heritage League, see: http://www.marylandcampaign150.org.
Planning for several Civil War Sesquicentennial events has been ongoing since 2009, according to Tom Riford. Also, a "First Call" weekend will happen in June 2012 in Hagerstown, to welcome in the commemorations of the 150th Anniversary of the Maryland Campaign of 1862. There are scores of events happening in 2011 and 2012, all available on the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area's web site www.heartofthecivilwar.org. Also, many events are listed on the Antietam National Battlefield's web site: http://www.nps.gov/anti/parknews/full-2011-annual-schedule.htm.
This year marked the beginning of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. The Maryland Campaign of 1862 will be commemorated in September of 2012 with special events at South Mountain State Battlefield and Antietam National Battlefield, a reenactment in Boonsboro, and various events in towns from Middletown to Hagerstown and beyond. For more information about these events, visit www.marylandcampaign150.org. To learn more about sites in the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area visit the historic Newcomer House at Antietam National Battlefield, seven days a week from 11AM-5PM. The Newcomer House serves as a Visitor and Exhibit Center for the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, offering information about historic sites in Washington, Frederick, and Carroll Counties in Maryland.
Washington County is home to five National Parks, eight State Parks, more than thirty museums, a minor league baseball team, a world-class professional symphony orchestra, more than twenty-one historic stone arch bridges, and is ranked first in Maryland for retail opportunities. For more information, see: www.marylandmemories.com. Many events are also listed there, along with a complete listing of events in Washignton County through 2012: http://files.dhweb.com/cvb/Civil-War-events-2011.pdf.
The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing, and expanding the local visitor industry. Washington County is part of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area (www.heartofthecivilwar.org), and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area (http://hallowedground.org). Washington County is also part of the Quad-State Tourism Coalition, a four-state tourism group along I-81. For more information, see: www.quadstate81.com.
The Hagerstown-Washington County CVB was recently awarded the Maryland Cultural Heritage Tourism Award by Governor Martin O'Malley.