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Old Fort Niagara commemorates Civil War sesquicentennial

by jmaloni
Tue, May 3rd 2011 05:45 pm

Union soldiers will man the ramparts of Old Fort Niagara during Civil War Weekend, May 14-15. The event will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War in April 1861. Featured will be a Civil War Encampment, rifled musket demonstrations and special tours of the fort that focus on its role from 1861-65.

Civil War artillery firings will take place at 11:15 a.m., 12:45 p.m., and 3 p.m. on Saturday and 10:15 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. The encampment is sponsored by Reynolds Battery L, 1st New York Light Artillery, a re-enactment unit that hosts an annual artillery school at the fort.

Although Fort Niagara was far from the action during the war, it nonetheless saw activity during the conflict. Paroled Union soldiers captured near Mesilla, N.M., arrived at the fort in December 1861 and remained there until October 1862. Later, the fort's walls were strengthened against a feared British attack from Canada in support of the Confederacy. The fort's massive brick walls and sturdy underground casemates date from this period.

Activities will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. For more information, visit the OFN website at www.oldfortniagara.org or call 745-7611.

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