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Civil War 150th Maryland Campaign anniversary commemorations to be previewed at First Call Weekend

Posted by Mary Gallagher-

This is a fabulous area to visit anytime but all the special events connected to the Civil War anniversary make it even more enticing through the year.

First Call Weekend, planned for June 16-17, 2012 at the City Park, Hagerstown, Maryland, commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Maryland Campaign and previews the many Civil War events that are planned throughout the commemorative period in Maryland’s Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area.

During the First Call Weekend, visitors will get a preview of upcoming 2012 Sesquicentennial commemorations and battle anniversary weekends, while enjoying activities such as living history interpretations, artillery demonstrations, hands-on youth activities, Civil War era music and entertainment, exhibits, a Civil War period baseball game, encampment tours, and evening tours by torchlight. The event is free and open to the public Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The First Call Weekend in 2012 is the first in a series of three annual expos. First Call Weekend for 2013 will be held in Carroll County with a focus on the Gettysburg Campaign and then Frederick County for 2014 with a focus on the Battle of Monocacy, also known as “The Battle that Saved Washington.”

2012 marks the 150th anniversary of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s 1862 Maryland Campaign, and commemorations explore the impact of Lee’s first advance of the Confederate army into the north, beginning with crossing the Potomac River into Maryland, the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam, and concluding with Abraham Lincoln issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.  Reenactments, living history demonstrations, lectures, concerts, special exhibits, memorial church services and more will take place from June through October 2012, with key battle anniversaries falling in September.

“Washington, Frederickand CarrollCounties were truly at the heart of the Civil War in Maryland. With one foot in the north, and one foot in the south, the story of the Civil War, its causes, battles, heroes and villains…its very meaning can be told nowhere better than in this part of Maryland,” explains Liz Shatto, Director for the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area.

First Call Weekend will preview the many 2012 Maryland Campaign commemorations planned over the next several months in Maryland. Recently, the National Park Service released a website,, which is dedicated to Maryland Campaign commemorative events, stories, and interpretive programs. The Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area is listed as one of the resources and provides a comprehensive listing of Maryland Campaign events in Maryland on their website.

First Call weekend will also be the launch of the new “Civil War Comes to Maryland” Junior Civil War Historian Activity Book which includes fun tasks for school children to complete at thirteen historic sites throughout the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. Youngsters will learn about the importance of the Maryland Campaign and what it was like at home when troops moved through the countryside and towns of Carroll, Frederick and Washington Counties. Activities explore various subthemes, including the Underground Railroad, General Lee’s Lost Orders, local encampments, and care of the wounded. Activities will also introduce famous and lesser known historical figures. Participants in this free program may earn a “Maryland Campaign 150th” pin and Junior Civil War Historian Certificate. The book will be available at the First Call event, participating organizations, and downloadable from

In addition to First Call Weekend, milestone Maryland Campaign commemorative events, activities, and exhibits within Maryland’s Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area include these highlights:

  • Valley of the Shadow: A Commemorative Exhibition – From June 16, 2012 – July 28, 2013, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts will feature objects on loan from public and private collections and the museum’s collection will come together to create a “museum within a museum” commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Gettysburg Campaign of 1863. This extensive exhibition brings together works of art, such as Eastman Johnson’s Study for “The Wounded Drummer Boy” from the Brooklyn Museum, and objects of material culture, such as weaponry, musical instruments, and clothing, to tell the stories of the war, from the soldiers who fought in its battles to the home front.
  • “The Return of Special Orders 191” – From August 1 through October 31, 2012, Monocacy National Battlefield will display Lee’s famous “Lost Order,” Special Orders #191, on loan from the Library of Congress. These Confederate orders were found by Union soldiers on land that is now part of the Monocacy Battlefield, and some historians believe the discovery directly impacted the outcome ofAntietam. August 4, 2012 marks the grand opening of “The Return of Special Orders 191” exhibit.
  • Local premier, “Heart of the Civil War” film – On the evening ofSeptember 4, 2012, the Maryland Public Television documentary film, “Heart of the Civil War,” will premiere at theWeinberg Center for the Arts inFrederick,MD. The film went into production in 2011 in anticipation of the anniversary of the Maryland Campaign, and is sponsored by the National Scenic Byway Program, the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, and the Tourism Council of Frederick County.
  • Rosser’s Raid Commemoration – On September 7, 2012, living history portrayals, artillery demonstrations, and other public programs will accompany the dedication of a new Civil War Trails marker interpreting the Maryland Campaign raid of Confederate Col. Thomas L. Rosser and the Fifth Virginia Cavalry on Westminster, on September 11, 1862.  Location is the Colonel Rosser parking lot on Main Street in Westminster, Maryland.
  • “Maryland My Maryland” Reenactment – On September 8 and 9, at the Boonsboro Town Farm, Rear Rank Productions, Inc., in conjunction with the Hagerstown-Washington County Visitors Bureau will be hosting ” Maryland, My Maryland,” a reenactment of the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam, commemorating the 150th Anniversary.
  • 150th Anniversary of the Battle of South Mountain -September 14-15, 2012 includes living history presentations, demonstrations, special exhibits, concerts, and more. Opening ceremonies begin on September 14 at 10:00 a.m. Special programs will also be hosted in Middletown and Burkittsville.
  • 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam -September 15-17, 2012 includes family activities, hikes, living history by the Maryland Historical Society Players, well known guest speakers, special exhibits and tours, and the Remembrance Ceremony at Antietam National Cemetery at Antietam National Battlefield.
  • FrederickOne Vast Hospital – The aftermath of the battles of SouthMountain and Antietam transformed Frederick into one vast hospital center as the sick, wounded, and dying needed care.  On September 21-22, in coordination with the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, Frederick’s churches and structures that served as Civil War hospitals, such as the Visitation Academy and the Hessian Barracks, will open their doors for tours where visitors can learn more about caring for the sick and wounded after battle.
  • 150th Anniversary of the Issuance of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation Commemorative Program – September 22, 2012 at Antietam National Battlefield features a presentation by Robert G. Stanton, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Department of Interior and keynote speaker, David W. Blight, Author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory.

Many more events are planned for the Maryland Campaign commemorations.  Throughout this period, a number of partners have joined together to commemorate these important historical events. The American Bus Association announced that the Civil War 150th Commemoration of the Maryland Campaign is one of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2012.

For a listing of Maryland Campaign activities in Maryland’s Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, visit (check frequently as the event listings are updated as information is made available).


Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area – Comprised of portions of Carroll, Frederick, and Washington Counties in Maryland, the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area (HCWHA) is a certified heritage area in the Maryland Heritage Areas program and is a partner in the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. It is managed under the auspices of the Tourism Council of Frederick County and guided by a three-county advisory board.  The HCWHA promotes the stewardship of our historic, cultural, and natural Civil War resources, encourages superior visitor experiences, and stimulates tourism, economic prosperity, and educational development, thereby improving the quality of life of our community for the benefit of both residents and visitors. For more information, visit or call (800) 999-3613.