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Soldiers in City Park just practicing

March 23, 1997

By RICHARD BELISLE

Staff Writer

Raw recruits along with veteran soldiers occupied Hagerstown City Park Saturday, but none meant any harm.

They were just preparing for another re-enactment season this summer.

The soldiers' heavy woolen uniforms seemed more appropriate in Saturday's blustery, late-March chill than in hot, humid July when most Civil War re-enactors do their thing.

Saturday was also a perfect day to train newcomers, said Jay Henson, captain of the 7th Maryland Regiment Volunteer Infantry unit. Henson was working with about a dozen re-enactors Saturday.

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The unit will take part in the Battle of Funkstown and the 135th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, which is expected to bring thousands of re-enactors to Washington County in early September.

"This is the second drill day we've had this year," Henson said.

"We want to acquaint our new members who joined over the winter on drilling, marching, tactics and musket firing and safety."

The unit uses Casey's Rifle and Infantry Tactics, the same manual that was used in the real Civil War.

It was written by Brig. Gen. Silas Casey for the U.S. Army and published in 1862, Henson said. Casey, a noted military tactician of his day, wrote instructions on Napoleonic style marching maneuvers, Henson said.

His manual was used mostly by Union troops. Confederates had their own manuals and others were used by both sides, he said.

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