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Reenactment returns Civil War to Laurel

Nowadays, Main Street in Laurel may seem quaint.

But nearly 150 years ago, during the Civil War, it was a bustling encampment for hundreds of Union soldiers tasked with protecting the Union's only rail line to Washington.

On Saturday, April 13, some of that excitement will come alive again at the Laurel Historical Society's Civil War reenactment called "Laurel Station: A Living History Program."

[View our interactive slider, 'Laurel, then and now']

"The reenactment will be on the same ground as the encampment for Union soldiers," said Lindsey Baker, executive director of the Laurel Historical Society.

The free reenactment, which will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., will be held outside the American Legion Post 60, located at 2 Main St. The reenactors are from the 2nd MD Infantry (Confederate) and 28th Massachusetts USV (Union).

Included in the day's festivities will be participatory drills, a firing demonstration and an afternoon skirmish, although there were no battles fought at what the Union soldiers called "Laurel Station."

Also on hand will be author J. David Wonderling, who will be signing copies of his book "Living History of the Civil War."

Baker said the overall interest in the Civil War is part of what inspired the Laurel Historical Society to host its first reenactment.

"We've found that people are really interested, and we are trying to build on that," Baker said. "We want people to get a better understanding of what Laurel was like during the Civil War."

According to Baker, the living history day is part of the historical society's Civil War programming. In March, the society hosted a lecture on the role of Latinos in the Civil War. Later this month, the historical society's annual gala will have a Civil War theme, "Stationed in Laurel," and will be held at the Laurel Park Carriage Room.

The living history day also coincides with the Laurel Museum's current exhibit, "Stationed in Laurel: Our Civil War Story." The exhibit runs through December at the museum, located at 817 Main St.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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