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Maryland Spotlight - 'home of the brave'
September tributes to Civil War, War of 1812
highlight Maryland as ‘home of the brave’
Events honor 1862 Maryland Campaign, resistance to British invasion in 1814
BALTIMORE (Aug. 28) – Commemorations in Maryland marking the sesquicentennial and bicentennial anniversaries of the Civil War and the War of 1812 are reaching a crescendo as summer ends.
“Visitors who attend events that honor the special anniversaries of the Civil War and War of 1812 will quickly recognize the significant role that Maryland and its citizens played in both of these history-shaping conflicts,” said Margot Amelia, executive director of the Maryland Office of Tourism. “They can travel Maryland’s Civil War Trails to discover Maryland’s authentic stories from that war across the state. And, they can visit historical sites along the Star-Spangled National Historic Trail – a route that traces the movements of British and American forces during the War of 1812’s Chesapeake Campaign.”
September offers an array of Civil War commemorations. The Civil War’s Maryland Campaign – when Gen. Robert E. Lee launched an invasion of Confederate forces into the state in an attempt to push Union armies northward – occurred 150 years ago in September. The campaign culminated at the Battle of Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862. It was the single bloodiest day in American history – 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after a full day of intense fighting near the Western Maryland town of Sharpsburg.
More than 8,000 re-enactors will stage two large-scale depictions of the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam in September. The month also includes a heritage festival at Sharpsburg, and commemorative exhibitions, ceremonies, tours, lectures and outdoor activities at national and state parks, and other locations in a three-county region known as Maryland’s Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area.
The state’s three-year commemoration of the War of 1812 began in June with Sailabration – the international maritime festival that brought 46 tall ships and naval vessels, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, and hundreds of thousands of visitors to Baltimore.
Now, the 1812 tributes continue with a ramped-up schedule in September featuring two annual events early in the month that celebrate Baltimore’s “Defenders,” the men who helped the city weather British assaults by land and sea. Another event, later in the month, salutes the Chesapeake Flotilla, which engaged the British navy in the waters of Southern Maryland.
Here are some of the September events in Maryland that commemorate the Civil War and the War of 1812:
- Special Order 191, Monocacy National Battlefield Visitor Center (Frederick County), through Oct. 31 – The original copy of Gen. Robert E. Lee's "lost orders" – in which he outlined strategy for his Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War's Maryland Campaign in 1862 – will be on display here through October, on loan from the Library of Congress. Lee prepared Special Order 191 while camped at Best Farm (several miles south of Frederick) on Sept. 9, 1862. Four days later, Union troops found the missing instructions in an envelope with two cigars.
- Heart of the Civil War film premiere, Sept. 4 (7 p.m.), Weinberg Center for the Arts, Frederick – This Maryland Public Television documentary marks the 150-year anniversary of the Civil War’s Maryland Campaign. It was created by the Tourism Council of Frederick County with support from the National Scenic Byways Program and Maryland Heritage Areas Authority. The Federal City Brass Band will also perform with a presentation of period music. Event is free and open to public. RSVPs are appreciated. The Maryland Office of Tourism will unveil its Civil War mobile app at this event.
- 150th Antietam-Sharpsburg Re-enactment, Sept. 14-16, Legacy Manor Farm (Washington County) – This depiction of the pivotal Civil War battle – also with 4,000 re-enactors – occurs two miles north of Antietam. During a Remembrance Illumination, Saturday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m., 3,654 candles will be placed on the re-enactment battlefield to pay tribute to each of the soldiers who were killed in action at Antietam.
- Sharpsburg Heritage Festival, Sept. 15-16 (Washington County) – Downtown Sharpsburg commemorates the 150-year anniversary of the Battle of Antietam with living-history interpretations and exhibits during this annual festival.
- Antietam 150th Battle Anniversary, Sept. 15-17, Antietam National Battlefield (Washington County) – This three-day commemoration offers organized hikes around the battlefield, a series of discussions featuring Civil War experts, living-history interpretations, exhibits, a family tent and a remembrance ceremony.
- Frederick – One Vast Hospital, Sept. 21-22 (Frederick County) – Historic churches in downtown Frederick open their doors as docents and living-history interpreters reveal how the town was a center of medical care for wounded soldiers during the Civil War.
War of 1812
- Oxford Nautical Festival and Flea Market, Sept. 1 (Talbot County) – This second annual event at the town soccer field blends a flea market of maritime-related items with live entertainment, food vendors and nautical exhibits. At 11 a.m., author B.J. Hubinger discusses his historical novel, 1812: Rights of Passage, and at noon, music historian David Hildebrand performs 1812-era music.
- Defenders Day at North Point, Sept. 2, Fort Howard Park, Edgemere (Baltimore County) – Since 1814, Marylanders have annually celebrated the “Defenders” who blocked invading British forces at the Battle of North Point, Sept. 12, 1814, the opening engagement of the Battle of Baltimore. It was the Battle of Baltimore that turned back the British tide, just weeks after the British had devastated the country by sacking the nation’s capital. The North Point event has been a tradition since 1986. Fort Howard opens at 9 a.m. for a day of living-history sessions, re-enacted battles and encampments, and public ceremonies.
- Defenders Day – Star-Spangled Banner Weekend, Sept. 7-9, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Baltimore – More than 100 War of 1812 re-enactors gather to commemorate the 1814 Battle of Baltimore and Francis Scott Key’s words, which became the national anthem. This three-day event includes parades, military bands and fireworks.
- The 1812 Fair and Re-enactment, Sept. 22, Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum (JPPM), St. Leonard (St. Mary’s County) – In June 1814, Commander Joshua Barney’s Chesapeake Bay Flotilla engaged the British navy in two battles along St. Leonard Creek – the largest naval conflict in Maryland history. JPPM, located at water’s edge where the conflict occurred, marks the occasion with an annual re-enactment amid a day of festivities that includes living-history demonstrations, live entertainment and family activities.
- JPPM’s Exhibit Barn will be open Sept. 22. Its newest exhibit is Farmers, Patriots and Traitors: Southern Maryland and the War of 1812. (The barn is open Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays.) Also on Sept. 22, JPPM hosts Tavern Night, an evening of 1812-era music, games, drink and food.
- War Comes to St. Mary’s, Sept. 29-30, Historic St. Mary’s City (St. Mary’s County) – This two-day event presents living-history interpretations of how Marylanders engaged with war – from 17th-century militias through 20th-century world wars. Visitors will see examples of military and civilian dress through the centuries, militia drills, and sword-fighting demonstrations. A Timeline of Conflict walking tour reveals military life from different eras.
About Maryland tourism
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $13.1 billion on travel-related expenses in 2010. During 2010, the Maryland tourism industry also generated close to $1.9 billion in state and local taxes and provided 130,000 jobs to Maryland residents.