National Guard sleeping in the Capitol an echo of Civil War

National

This family photo, made in June 1861, shows Dr. Bowman Bigelow Breed, right inside tent with pipe. Breed, who served as a surgeon in the Union Army during the Civil War, was a member of the 8th Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, which was bivouacked in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in the early days of the war. (Courtesy of the Breed Family via AP)

NATIONAL (AP) – To most Americans, the sight of armed National Guard troops sleeping in the Capitol Rotunda this past week was shocking and disturbing. But it also was an echo of the far-distant past — the Capitol was used as a bivouac for troops during the Civil War.

Among them was the great-grandfather of AP National Writer Allen G. Breed, who wrote to his wife that he wished she could look in on him and his fellow troops, and see how comfortably they had settled into life in the Capitol.

This illustration in the May 25, 1861 issue of Harper’s Weekly depicts the Eighth Massachusetts Regiment with some civilians, and mattresses on the floor in the rotunda of the Capitol in Washington. To most Americans, the sight of armed National Guard troops sleeping in the Capitol Rotunda this past week was shocking and disturbing. But it also was an echo of the far-distant past — the Capitol was used as a bivouac for troops during the Civil War. (Harper’s Weekly/Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield via AP)

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