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Blue smoke rose from a small campfire into a brilliant blue, crystal clear sky. The young faces looked like the faces of the boys from Baltimore mustered into the Ninth Maryland Infantry and a local cook.

It was October of 1863. The Union Army had just won the most consequential battle of the Civil War, Gettysburg. Lee had led his Confederate Army back down into Virginia. To create a diversion and distraction from his last offensive effort of the war, Lee sent cannon and cavalry to attack Charles Town, West Virginia. 

The cannon crumbled the courthouse downtown and at least one other building. The cavalry captured most of the Maryland Ninth. Sent to Confederate prison camps like Andersonville, many of them died of disease, starvation, exposure and malnutrition. War’s horrors don’t end on battlefields.

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