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Weekend re-enactment to mark 150th anniversary of Civil War

PLATTSBURGH - The tradition of commemorating the Civil War reaches a monumental anniversary this year, and it's one Matthew Hewson is looking forward to marking.

The West Chazy historical re-enactor and his father, fellow history buff Wayne Hewson, are the father-son duo once again overseeing the annual event this weekend on the grounds of the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base off Washington Road. The two-day, free admission event - hosted by the Clinton County Historical Association, 11th New York Battery Light Artillery and Alexandria Battery CSA - has taken some extra planning this year to commemorate the start of a war that divided the nation, said Hewson.

"This year has been similar to past years in the way we went about planning the event. However, this year being the 150th anniversary, we wanted to go with a summer of 1861 theme and try to depict a good deal of early war scenes if we could," said Hewson.

This year's event will focus on the first year of the Civil War and the events leading up to the first battle of Manassas, Va. The battles, said Hewson, will depict small unit actions that occurred in the month preceding Manassas.

Those attending this year's event can expect to see re-enactors portraying troops and civilians from both sides of the Union and Confederate conflict, said Hewson.

"Over the course of the weekend visitors will be able to see, smell, touch and if they are lucky, or brave enough, taste what the Civil War was like in the summer of 1861," he said.

The weekend will consist of three battles that will depict the skirmishes that broke out across the border regions between the North and South in the early months of the war, said Hewson. In addition to battles, visitors to the event will have the opportunity to see infantry drills, cannon firing demonstrations, and speak with re-enactors about local units and their history.

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