New Jersey’s black troops in the Civil War: A talk in Morristown tonight, Feb.22

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Black soldiers from New Jersey served in the Civil War. What unique hardships did they face?

Author Joe Bilby will speak about the Civil War experience of black soldiers, on Feb. 22 in Morristown.
Author Joe Bilby will speak about the Civil War experience of black soldiers, on Feb. 22 in Morristown.

Author Joe Bilby will share some insights tonight, Feb. 22, at the Masonic Lodge on Maple Avenue in Morristown, with a Black History Month talk about his book, Freedom to All, New Jersey Black Troops in the Civil War.

The 7 pm lecture is in conjunction with an exhibit at the Macculloch Hall Historical Museum entitled Gone for a Soldier: Jerseymen in the Civil War. Tickets for the talk are $8 for adults and $6 for seniors and students over 12.

Joe Bilby, a Vietnam veteran, has written or edited 13 books on historical topics. If you can’t make Wednesday’s lecture, you can catch Joe again on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 7:15 pm at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, where the North Jersey Civil War Round Table will meet.

Here are more details on the presentation.

FROM MACCULLOCH HALL:

Macculloch Hall Historical Museum presents a Civil War Lecture Series in conjunction with the exhibit

“Gone for a Soldier: Jerseymen in the Civil War”

On Wednesday February 22nd Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is pleased to welcome speaker Joe Bilby in conjunction with the museum’s current exhibit “Gone for a Soldier:” Jerseymen in the Civil War. Presented in partnership with the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee this new exhibit brings together for the first time about two hundred objects from the Civil War from nearly thirty museums, historical societies, and private collections. Each month through June the Museum is presenting a lecture relating to the exhibit.

This February, during Black History Month, Mr. Bilby will present “Freedom to All,” NJ Black Troops in the Civil War. Based on the book by the same name, this lecture details the story of the state’s black soldiers in the Civil War. The talk also addresses African-American military service in New Jersey before and after the conflict, from Revolutionary War militiamen to the state’s segregated First Separate Militia Battalion of the 1930s and the post-World War II New Jersey National Guard, which in 1948 led the nation in integrating its military force. Most Civil War African-American New Jersey soldiers served in the regiments of the United States Colored Troops organized at Camp William Penn outside Philadelphia. Perhaps the most famous of these regiments was the 22nd United States Colored Infantry. This valiant unit broke the Confederate line at Petersburg in June, 1864, fought through the siege of Petersburg, was one of the first Union units to enter Richmond, marched in President Lincoln’s funeral parade in Washington, participated in the hunt for John Wilkes Booth and served on occupation and border guard duty in Texas before returning home for discharge in the fall of 1865. Bilby relates the histories of the Camp William Penn regiments with large numbers of Jerseymen in their ranks, as well as the stories of individual members of those units.

Mr. Bilby is the author or editor of thirteen other books on New Jersey and Civil War history. He received his BA and MA degrees in history from Seton Hall University and served as a lieutenant in the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1966-1967. Retired from a position as Supervising Investigator at the New Jersey Department of Labor, Bilby currently works part time as assistant curator of the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey in Sea Girt. He is a member and publications editor of the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee. Mr. Bilby will be available to sell and sign books after the lecture.

All lectures start at 7pm with tickets available from 6:30pm and are held at the Cincinnati Masonic Lodge No. 3, 39 Maple Avenue (one block from the museum). Tickets for the lectures are Adults $8, Seniors $6, Students (over 12 years) $6. Members of the Museum will receive a $2 discount for these special programs. Memberships can be purchased at the door. Cash or check only please. Ticket holders to the museum exhibit will receive a $2 discount to the lectures with proof of admission; lecture ticket holders may also receive a $2 discount on a museum exhibit visit. See ticket desk for details. On the evenings of the Civil War Lecture Series the Museum will have extended exhibit hours from 1 pm – 6:30pm. “Gone for a Soldier” is on display Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday afternoons through July 1st 2012.

The New Jersey Sesquicentennial Committee, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, a volunteer organization working for increased awareness and recognition of New Jersey’s important role in the Civil war, has been recognized by the New Jersey Governor and both houses of the New Jersey legislature. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum preserves the history of the Macculloch-Miller families, the Morris area community, and the legacy of its founder W. Parsons Todd through its historic site, collections, exhibits, and educational and cultural programs. For information, call the Museum weekdays at (973) 538-2404 ext 10, visit our website www.maccullochhall.org or find us on Facebook. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum, 45 Macculloch Ave., Morristown, NJ 07960. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is a nonprofit educational affiliate of the W. Parsons Todd Foundation.

 

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