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taskdef usage

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I am trying to control start and stop of a web application via ant and the task definitions StartTask and StopTask; but all I get back in the BUILD FAILED message is "connection refused". I've set up the Tomcat-5.5.0 security manager with username and password names and have tried using a very basic ant command like:
<start url="${manager.url}" username="${username}" password="${password}" path="/${}" />

(enclosed in proper target syntax of course).

Is there some cryptic incantation I have to use somewhere in the Tomcat configuation details to get this to work? I have dutifully placed the catalina-ant.jar file in the ant.home/lib location - and as far as I know that is about all one should have to do to make this work. I have also tried this test on Tomcat-4.1.12 with the same failed results.
(I might mention that all works well under manual control of the web app).
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