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Baltimore and Ohio Railroad

Railroad museum event in Ellicott City recalls Dorsey's role in Civil War

Railroad museum event in Ellicott City recalls Dorsey's role in Civil War

The role of six dozen Howard County African-Americans who served as Union soldiers in the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War will be commemorated July 30 in Ellicott City on the 152nd anniversary of the Battle of the Crater — an ambitious attack that spawned a hometown hero.

The conflict is named for the huge crater that Union forces created in July 1864 by detonating four tons of dynamite in a tunnel they dug under the Confederate lines in Petersburg, Va. Battle plans called for troops to charge into and around the crater in a surprise assault, though many soldiers became sitting ducks unable to climb out of the hole.

The Union Army was defeated and suffered 5,500...

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