The Civil War ended long ago, but the battles rage on in Baltimore

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tags: Confederate flag, Confederate Memorials

A Chesapeake Bay breeze blusters across Point Lookout State Park as Confederate flags are raised, the whistling wind and scattering leaves adding solemnity to the funereal mid-October morning. When the Civil War began, the southern tip of St. Mary’s County had been a popular resort, filled with cottages, a hotel, a wharf, and a lighthouse. But after Gettysburg, the Union army turned the peninsula into a massive prisoner-of-war camp. By the end of the bloody conflict, some 50,000 Confederate troops had been interned, making it the North’s largest such institution. Of course, whether Maryland, a tobacco-growing, slavery-legal state that didn’t get around to voting on secession, was—or is—“in the North” remains debatable. Not in dispute is that conditions at Point Lookout deteriorated as its Confederate population exploded—an 80-foot granite obelisk here carries the names of the 3,382 known Confederate soldiers who died while incarcerated on the 40-acre grounds.

All of this, and other reasons, too, is why two-dozen Maryland Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) are taking part in this remembrance ceremony. A SCV stalwart, retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Zebelean, leads the color guard. The group’s chaplain prays an invocation and a representative from the North Carolina Order of the Confederate Rose, a women’s group, lays a wreath, followed by a musket and cannon salute and the singing of “Dixie.” Not quite a full-on Civil War re-enactment, but similar.

Zebelean, still trim, in a gray calvary officer’s uniform, waist sword included, notes in his address that much has changed from the Civil War’s centennial and the sesquicentennial this past year. A Catonsville native, he is referring, directly, to local and national efforts to remove Confederate monuments from public squares in response to the murders of black churchgoers in Charleston, SC.

Read entire article at Baltimore magazine

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