Civil War Encampment This Weekend
Company D of the 3rd Maryland Regiment Volunteer Infantry will be encamped in the meadow adjacent to Gordon’s Cruise-In along Great Cove Road on Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9. County native Capt. Donald Swope of Warfordsburg will be leading his men during the twoday excursion that will introduce residents to a “unique hobby” as well as educate and serve as a means of preserving history.
According to Swope, up to 12 of Company D’s total 16 members will be on hand for the demonstrations that will get under way at 7 a.m. Greeted by reveille, the group will undergo roll-call, weapons inspection and approximately 15 minutes of drills before sitting down to breakfast. There will be drills and weapon firing demonstrations throughout both days, which will end with relaxing and swapping stories around the campfire.
Swope said visitors to Company D’s encampment will also be treated to a firsthand perspective of a Union soldier’s camp life and living quarters.
Having been involved in Civil War re-enactments since the early to mid-1990s, Swope said he and his brother, Kenny, wondered for many years what it would be like to be a re-enactor. Furthermore, they could never imagine what it would take to divide a family between the Union and the Conferederacy.
Swope got the chance to have his questions answered when he got a call to attend a re-enactment at the New Market Battlefield in Virginia. Arriving at the camp that day, Swope told the “News” he was led through the Confederate Camp and even saw some men cooking a chicken over the fire. He recalls it made the hair on his neck stand up and began to wonder what exactly he was getting himself into.
Through the generosity of fellow re-enactors, he was outfitted that day with a haversack to carry his food and utensils as well as a gun and leather goods. Taken out to patrol and drill, Swope found himself on the frontline with a fife player on each side. The hottest day so far that year, Swope stated he vowed if he ever got out of camp, he was done with re-enacting.
However, as he was leaving, he saw the flag across the skyline, heard the boom of the cannons and the cheers from the crowd. “That was all it took,” Swope told the “News.”
That day he purchased a canteen. Swope would carry it with him for many years until relinquishing it to his son, Zachery, 22, who now joins him as a member of Company D.
Hoping to increase Company D’s membership with new recruits, young and old and men and women alike, Swope said there is definitely a camaraderie between the younger boys involved. “There’s also learning about history. It’s not just turning a page in a book. It’s a cool way to learn about history and enjoy the great outdoors, he said.
To obtain additional information on the 3rd Maryland Regiment Volunteer Infantry, Company D and find their next scheduled appearance, visit their Web page at www.thirdmd.com or e-mail Swope at firstname.lastname@example.org.