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April 20, 2006|By LORI SEARS

Civil War Days

This weekend, don't be alarmed if you hear musket firings. Or if you see Union soldiers marching through Baltimore. Or if you happen upon a Confederate cavalryman. This weekend, after all, marks the annual Civil War Days downtown. The Civil War-themed weekend begins with a commemoration of the Pratt Street Riot at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Baltimore Civil War Museum's President Street Station. There, more than 80 war re-enactors will participate in a ceremony with fife and drum music, wreath-laying and more. Soldiers will then march through the streets of Baltimore, retracing the steps of the Union Army soldiers that led to a confrontation with Southern sympathizers resulting in the first bloodshed of the Civil War.

At Hampton National Historic Site, on Hampton Lane in Towson, visitors can sit in on the free historical program "Why They Fought" at 2 p.m. Saturday. Re-enactors, including Union soldiers, a Confederate cavalryman, wealthy landowners, German immigrants, a slave and others, will meet visitors and talk about their lives.

Events will also take place at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, on East Fort Avenue, throughout the weekend. Visitors to the fort can witness musket-firing demonstrations, fife and drum concerts, a period court-martial and camp activities. And at 2 p.m. Sunday, there will be a grand dress parade with a flag ceremony, trooping of the line, military music and an awards ceremony. Fort admission is $5.

For details on Civil War Days, call Fort McHenry at 410-962-4290, Hampton at 410-823-1309 or the Baltimore Civil War Museum's box office at the Maryland Historical Society at 410-685-3750, ext. 321.

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