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Living history part of Antietam anniversary weekend

September 15, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

KEEDYSVILLE - A living-history group demonstrated an early form of text messaging Sunday.

Using red and white flags, two pairs communicated with a system of numbers and letters that were linked to motions of the flag. Re-enactors said the method of instant communication, which was used during the Battle of Antietam, can take place over a dozen miles if needed by using a telescope.

The signal demonstration and many others were part of the Battle of Antietam anniversary weekend, which included events at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum.

The 5th New York Zouaves, General Longstreet's Command and the Signal Corps of Central Maryland camped at the Pry House Saturday and Sunday. Some packed up early Sunday due to the extreme heat they were facing in their wool outfits.

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The Pry House was used as a field hospital during and following the battle of Antietam, which took place Sept. 17, 1862.

The barn next to the Pry House was used as a hospital for enlisted men, and officers who needed medical attention were taken to the Pry House, said Mark Quattrock, a volunteer. Quattrock was participating in a living-history demonstration Sunday as a Civil War-era doctor.

He said about 500 people were treated at the Pry House Field Hospital during the war.

Betsy Broussard of Yardley, Pa., said she and her daughter, Erin Broussard, 19, were at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum Sunday to gather more information about one of her relatives, Samuel Pry. Pry was the brother of Phillip Pry, who lived at the Pry House.

Samuel Pry is Betsy Broussard's great-great-grandfather, she said.

Broussard and her daughter also looked at cemetery plots and took photographs on Sunday.

John Frederick of Bellwood, Pa., was at the Pry House Sunday with his son, Mark Frederick. John Frederick said Civil War history is popular in his family, and most of their vacations are to battlefields and museums.

His son, Jared Frederick, 20, does Civil War art and has cards for sale at the Pry House gift shop.

The events at the Pry House Field Hospital Saturday and Sunday commemorated the Battle of Antietam, and were part of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine's expansion of programs and events for the local community, highlighting the medical innovations of the war, according to a press release.

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