Antietam Re-Enactment to Illustrate Realities of Civil War

Article excerpt

Rea Redd will be among people who will make the bloodiest single- day battle in American history come alive again.

The Waynesburg University professor will mostly like dress as a Union surgeon for the 9th Pennsylvania Reserves, joining re- enactors in weekend events marking the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, the first major Civil War battle on Northern soil. Five days afterward, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation ordering an end to slavery in the United States.

Union and Confederate armies sent about 100,000 soldiers into the 12-hour battle on Sept. 17, 1862, and almost 23,000 were killed, wounded or listed as missing in action.

The re-enactment will be Sept. 14-16 near Sharpsburg, Md., about 31/2 hours from Pittsburgh.

Redd, a longtime re-enactor, said the experience is moving.

"There's a type of communion involved when you re-enact the Civil War and you're in their clothes, in their shoes and on their land eating their food," he said.

"It's a communion where we remember them by dressing as them and reading their diaries."

Redd has been participating in re-enactments since 1993. They are staged, in part, to give people a chance to see firsthand the realities of the Civil War.

"You just hear horses neighing and whinnying and people marching by and artillery going, Redd said. "And everyone behind you is infantry, and there's a dust cloud coming up over the horizon, and you look around and think 'Yeah, this gets pretty close sometimes.'"

Cathy Beeler, Civil War to Civil Rights coordinator for the National Park Service, said the most powerful event of the weekend will be the remembrance ceremony in Antietam National Cemetery on Sept. …