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Baltimore’s Role In Civil War Showcased In New Exhibit

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—As the nation remembers the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Maryland’s dire position as a border state is coming into special focus.

Alex DeMetrick explains how events over the next four years will highlight a nation and a state divided.

When Union troops crossed paths with Southern sympathizers in Baltimore at the beginning of the Civil War, the first blood was shed in Baltimore.

Now the city and the state’s four years of war are the focus of an exhibit opening this weekend at the Maryland Historical Society.

“Divisions within Maryland were very strong and painful, and to show that has been one of our goals,” said Alexandra Deutsch, chief curator.

Everyday items of warfare a century and a half ago — from weapons to letters home — build to an inescapable conclusion.

The exhibit isn’t just limited to displays of historical artifact. Actors will re-create the lives of those who experienced the war.

The anniversaries of battles will also be commemorated. The bloodiest single day happened in Maryland when 23,000 Americans were killed or wounded at Antietam.

“And this is really in Maryland where you had brother fighting brother because people had to really choose for themselves: ‘Am I going to go for the North or am I going with the South,’ ” said Vince Vaise, National Park Service.

It’s a decision that drew Maryland blood from both sides.

Besides the exhibit at the Maryland Historical Society, this weekend Baltimore will also host a military review, and Fort McHenry will have a Civil War encampment open to the public.

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