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Annual Corbit’s Charge commemoration in Westminster canceled amid coronavirus pandemic

A popular summertime event that attracts Civil War buffs and historians alike into downtown Westminster won’t be taking place this year.

The annual re-enactment and commemoration of Corbit’s Charge, a skirmish that took place near what is now the intersection of Main Street and Washington Road in Westminster, is canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Pipe Creek Civil War Round Table puts together the event each year to recognize June 29, 1863, when the battle took place.

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“It is with deep regret that the Corbit’s Charge Event Planning Committee has made the decision to cancel the 2020 Corbit’s Charge Civil War Encampment,” the Pipe Creek Civil War Round Table posted on its website. “This decision was made after thorough consideration of social distancing guidelines and the overall safety of our participants, volunteers, and visitors. We thank everyone who has been a supporter of the Corbit’s Charge event and we look forward to our future encampments and preservation efforts.”

This year’s encampment was set for June 27-28 at Westminster City Hall, capped by a memorial service at the Corbit’s Charge Monument on Willis Street.

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On June 29, 1863, Westminster served as the backdrop for a pivotal moment in the Civil War. More than 100 Union troops from companies C and D of the 1st Delaware Cavalry, fronted by Capt. Charles Corbit, clashed with 5,000 Confederate Cavalry troops led by Commander J.E.B. Stuart. Although considered a Confederate victory, the battle helped impede Stuart’s ability to link up with the Confederate infantry in Pennsylvania — thus contributing to a Union victory at the Battle of Gettysburg.

In 2003, to honor the 140th anniversary of the Battle of Westminster and provide local recognition of that historic skirmish, the mayor and Common Council of Westminster established the Corbit’s Charge Commemoration Committee.

The Corbit’s Charge Monument ceremony concludes at the graveyard of Westminster’s Ascension Episcopal Church, at 23 N. Court St., with the laying of wreaths on the graves of two Civil War Veterans ― 1st Lt. John Murray, Co. E 4th Virginia Cavalry (a Confederate soldier killed during Corbit’s Charge), and Samuel Butler Co. C 32nd Infantry United States Colored Troops (Union).

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