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One-man Union army to guard museum

Jan. 5, 2010 at 2:06 PM

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 5 (UPI) -- A curator at the National Civil War Museum says he intends to spend two chilly weeks of the Pennsylvania winter living the life of a Civil War soldier.

Brett Kelley will bivouac Feb. 6-20 on the grounds of the Harrisburg museum, living in a tent, eating the rations of the era and wearing the uniform of a Union private awaiting the spring fighting season.

Despite the faded notion that the South will rise again, Kelley won't be defending the Keystone State against a repeat of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's march to Gettysburg. It is actually a fundraiser and educational event to give 21st century Americans a glimpse of what their forefathers went through during the war.

"Student groups visiting during this time will most certainly gain a new appreciation for the elements the soldiers endured and the sacrifices they made for this country," Mary Smith, president of the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau, said in a written statement Tuesday.

The museum said Kelley will perform typical chores assigned to picket-line soldiers back in the day, including building a split-rail fence, standing sentry duty and taking an occasional 10-mile march.

Kelley, the museum's curator of collections, won't be "in character" during his stint. People will be able to talk to him without fear of being prodded with a bayonet. Kelley will also presumably have the chance to check his e-mails as time permits.

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