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Top 5 Events for Visitors to Frederick County in 2012


#1 – The Civil War 150th Commemoration of the Maryland Campaign 
Frederick County is renowned for its rich Civil War history and 2012 marks the 150th anniversary of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s 1862 Maryland Campaign. 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. The commemoration explores 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. Throughout this period, a number of partners are joining together to commemorate these important historical events. Reenactments, living history demonstrations, lectures, concerts, special exhibits, commemorative church services and more will take place from August through October 2012, with key battle anniversaries falling in September.


Highlights of the Maryland Campaign commemorations in Frederick County include:

·         “The Return of Special Orders 191” – From August through October, 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 of Antietam. 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 of September 4, 2012, the Maryland Public Television documentary film, “Heart of the Civil War,” will premiere at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, 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.

·         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.

·         Frederick - One Vast Hospital – The aftermath of the battles of South Mountain and Antietam transformed Frederick into one vast hospital center as the sick, wounded, and dying needed care.  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 on select dates in September. 


Many more events are planned in Frederick County and the surrounding area for the Maryland Campaign commemorations.  Frederick’s close proximity to the battlefields and historic sites, its central location in Maryland’s “Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area,” as well as the city’s amenities like shopping and dining, make it a perfect “base camp” for Civil War exploration. Anytime during 2012 is ideal for visiting year-round Civil War sites like Monocacy National Battlefield, South Mountain State Park, and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine or exploring the Civil War Trails which link major battlefields and historic sites with human interest stories. For additional information on anniversary commemorations or to plan your stay, visit


#2 - The Legend of Barbara Fritchie Celebrates 150 Years

During the 1862 Maryland Campaign, Confederate troops marched through Downtown Frederick along West Patrick Street on their way to what would be known as the battles of South Mountain and Antietam.  Legend has it that Frederick native Barbara Fritchie, in her 90’s, waved the Union flag out her window as the Confederate soldiers marched through town. The famed John Greenleaf Whitter ballad, Barbara Frietchie, was originally published in the October 1863 issue of Atlantic magazine. The poem recounted how Fritchie was threatened by a Confederate soldier as she waved the flag, and defiantly retorted, “'Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, but spare your country's flag…’” The poem’s popularity eventually bolstered Frederick’s Fritchie to American heroine status.  It was this poem that also coined the popular phrase “clustered spires,” used to this day to describe Frederick’s skyline of church steeples and towers. 


While historians doubt that this exchange happened as written, the people of Frederick have no reservations about claiming this American patriot as their own.  In 2012, two exhibitions will commemorate her story and explore the events that transpired in the city of clustered spires. 

·         Special Exhibit - The Fritchie Phenomena: Barbara Fritchie in Popular Culture 
Exhibit opens June 1, 2012 and runs through December 31, 2012
Museum of Frederick County History, 24 East Church St., Frederick, MD
This exhibit at the Museum of Frederick County History will examine the marketing of Barbara Fritchie and the use of her name and image (real and imagined) to promote consumer products from the 1920s through 2000. The Whittier poem, a
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