Strike The Tent...
17 March 2011
  New Book on New Jersey’s Civil War Black Soldiers

For Immediate Release

March 2, 2010

Contact: Joseph G. Bilby, (732) 539-1666

With the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War fast approaching, Longstreet House Publishing announces the publication of “Freedom to All”: New Jersey’s African-American Civil War Soldiers, by Joseph G. Bilby. The book details the story of the state’s black soldiers in the Civil War, and 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, a unit that 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. The book also includes a list of over 1,300 black Civil War veteran burials in the Garden State, which includes the last surviving New Jersey Civil War veteran, Sergeant George Ashby of the 45th United States Colored Infantry, who died in 1946.

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. He is retired from his job as Supervising Investigator at the New Jersey Department of Labor, currently works part time as assistant curator of the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey in Sea Girt and is a member and publications editor of the official New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee.

Copies are available online at or from

Longstreet House,
PO Box 730
Hightstown, NJ 08520
for $20 plus $5 shipping.

For autographed copies contact the author.

Discounts are available to book dealers and historical societies.
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