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Scout units place flags on Irish Brigade Monument

November 15, 2006

SHARPSBURG - Cub Scouts from Pack 14 in Smithsburg recently toured Antietam National Battlefield, starting at the Visitors Center and then going on to the monuments, including the Irish Brigade Monument near Bloody Lane.

The group also went to the National Cemetery and to Burnside Bridge where the Union and Confederate forces battled during the Civil War.

Scout units have been placing U.S. flags on the graves at the cemetery as a service project for the descendants of the men who were members of the Irish Brigade from New York and Massachusetts and who fought at Antietam.

Troop 14 and Pack 14, both sponsored by the Smithsburg Lions Club, began helping with this project several years ago after descendents of the Irish Brigade contacted local Scout headquarters asking for help.

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One of the descendents was put in contact with Smithsburg Scout leader Jeff Weaver, who is a Civil War buff. Under his leadership, local Scouting units and other residents have been paying honor to the Irish graves regularly ever since.

Weaver, who is now Webelos leader of Pack 14, takes the Scouts and, sometimes, other residents to the cemetery about a week before the September anniversary of the Battle of Antietam.

There they place a flag on and salute each of the 33 graves of the Irish Brigade members.

The National Park Service allows the flags to stay for a week, at which time Weaver and his volunteers return to remove the flags and salute each grave again.

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