Strains of "Kingdom Coming" echoed along Pennsylvania Avenue on Saturday in a re-creation of the last march of the victorious Union army 125 years ago.
Among those joining in an abbreviated - in time and troop size - re-enactment of the Grand Review were a company of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the black soldiers made famous in the movie "Glory."Although few blacks were in the original parade, representatives of the regiment's Company B in Saturday's gathering were given the honor position at the wreath-laying ceremony at the statue of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the foot of the U.S. Capitol.
Morale was high despite temperatures near 80. The Civil War enthusiasts seemed to take the heat in stride even though all wore authentic wool uniforms, and many were in full pack.
"Marvelous, don't we love them, guys," Paul Baader, 43, said as he tugged at his uniform.
Baader, an advertising executive from Bayonne, N.J., stood at the head of the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry and the First Company, U.O..
Walter B. Sanderson, a 37-year-old area resident who had played a sergeant in "Glory" and managed the company's affairs off-screen, said the heat was worse in 1865. "It was hotter, no doubt of that."
One of his group was felled by heat prostration while waiting to march, he said.
Sanderson said black regiments were left out of the original march because they were on guard duty in Charleston, S.C.
About 2,000 people took part in Saturday's march from the Capitol to the Washington Monument, compared with some 150,000 victorious Union soldiers who marched on May 23-24, 1865.
Saturday's march was sponsored by the National Park Service and a local development group.