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Corbit’s Charge Civil War Commemoration set for this weekend in Westminster

Civil War aficionados and local historians will gather this weekend in Westminster to witness and participate in the annual Corbit’s Charge Civil War re-enactment.

The commemoration, set for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is held by the Pipe Creek Civil War Roundtable and features activities such as a memorial service, tours of historic sites and a presentation on the Battle of Westminster. It is free of charge.

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The event has been taking place since the early 2000s and is meant to educate the public about Westminster’s relevance in the Civil War.

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.

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The original plan this year was to hold the event on the Historical Society of Carroll County campus but that fell through after it was determined the organization had limited resources and would not have the resources to handle the commemoration on top of their own virtual gala scheduled for that evening, according to Kristen McMasters, the society’s interim director.

Steven Carney, outreach coordinator of the Pipe Creek Civil War Roundtable, said the backup plan is to block off Court Place Road for the duration of the event so it can act as the main headquarters. While this location is not ideal because of lack of space, Carney noted the event planning committee decided it was the “best option.”

“We received our first permit from Westminster on May 13 featuring the Historical Society as our main campus and received our updated permit from on June 7 with provisions to make Court Place our main event location,” Carney said.

Two weeks ago the group also received a permit from the county to use the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park for setting up various historical displays.

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“They ordinarily do not allow groups to obtain permits to use the park but in this case they made an exception for us,” he said.

Robert Kuehne, a Westminster resident and local Civil War history buff, said this week he has been attending the event since 2003, with the exception of last year when the public activities were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At 82 years old, he said he is no longer active in the ranks of the military but enjoys his role educating others.

“If one doesn’t know history they’re doomed to repeat it … We’re going through a terrible time right now,” he said, commenting on the significance the event holds in the community. “History is not taught in the school the way it should be.”

Although the Battle of Westminster itself was insignificant, it played a large part in the overall outcome of the war. He added “kids don’t get history so they don’t know what’s going on … It’s up to individuals with that knowledge to pass it on.”

Kuehne mentioned re-enactors will attend the commemoration dressed in Civil War garb from the Union and the Confederacy.

“It’s not a political event but when you have a war you have to interpret both sides,” he said.

The historian encourages community members to participant in Saturday’s activities since it’s free to attend and it a “good and fun time.”

“It’s a time of remembrance, it’s a time of reflection and it’s a time to enlighten people today about how it was back then,” he said.

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