AUGUSTA — Cub Scouts younger than 10 years old joined Revolutionary War re-enactors portraying soldiers who served here nearly 240 years ago to pay tribute to veterans past and present on Wednesday, Veterans Day.

Re-enactor Pete Morrissey, musket in hand, led Capt. Daniel Savage’s Re-enacting Company soldiers, youths from Augusta-based Cub Scout Pack 684 and Boy Scout Troop 603, the Scouts’ parents and other spectators in a march from Old Fort Western to the gravesite in Riverside Cemetery off Bangor Street of Capt. Daniel Savage.

The Revolutionary War veteran Savage led the Savage Company as the unit based at Fort Western scouted both sides of the Kennebec River from Castine to Augusta between 1777 and 1779.

Soldiers in their Revolutionary War period uniforms and bearing muskets helped to stop traffic so the group of more than two dozen could make their way across Cony Street on the less than a mile-long hike from the fort to the final resting place of Savage, which was marked by two small American flags.

“On Memorial Day we remember, in particular, those men and women who sacrificed everything for us,” Morrissey said, standing next to Savage’s grave. “On this day, Veterans Day, we remember all veterans. Some sacrificed more than others, but all veterans give up something. So we are all indebted to them. This is the day we honor them.”

He noted some members of Savage’s Company were among the country’s first war veterans, having fought the English in the Battle of Bagaduce. He also noted the re-enacting company includes members who are direct descendants of soldiers in Savage’s Company.

The historical interpreter soldiers fired three rounds Wednesday, their muskets letting off a loud crack and dispensing smoke over the cemetery grounds each time.

“People ask, ‘Why fire muskets, or guns, at a veteran’s funeral?'” Morrissey said. “It’s a tradition, goes back to the Civil War. But it also signifies a bond between all veterans.”

After firing the three rounds, the soldiers set the end of the barrels of their muskets on the ground, holding the weapons straight up and down, and solemnly rested their hands on the stocks.

Before marching from Old Fort Western to Savage’s gravesite, Theresea Poirier, a den leader with the Scouting group, used the upcoming short hike to quiz the Scouts about how to prepare for such outdoor activities, especially in cold weather. She and other adults reminded the youths they needed to dress in layers, to stay warm, and not leave the side of their selected “buddy” in the buddy system. They also were tasked with spotting and identifying at least two animals as they hiked and to remain aware of their surroundings.

“Savage’s Company, attention!” Morrissey barked on the cold, wet Wednesday morning, as the group set off. “Shoulder your firearms. To the left, turn! Carry your muskets, at your ease. To the front. March!”

After the march to the cemetery and back to the fort, the American flag, with 13 stars to represent the 13 colonies at the time of the Revolution, was raised on a weather-worn flagpole above the fort’s riverside blockhouse. The Scouts led the soldiers and spectators in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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