In   1860,   New   Jersey   was   evolving   from   a   rural,   parochial   past   into   an industrial,    cosmopolitan    future.    Immigrants    flowed    into    the    state’s northeast   through   the   nation’s   greatest   port   of   entry,   New   York,   filling   a growing   need   for   labor   in   an   expanding   economy,   yet   giving   rise   to social   and   political   tensions   with   the   established   order.   New   Jerseyans had   begun   to   address   the   greatest   of   America’s   economic   and   social dilemmas,   race-based   slavery,   as   early   as   the   eighteenth   century, when   Quakers   condemned   the   “peculiar   institution”   and   Revolutionary patriots    perceived    the    inherent    contradiction    between    it    and    their cause.      Although   there   was   opposition   from   the   state’s   slaveholders,   a gradual-abolition    act    passed    in    1804    was    reinforced    by    stronger legislation    in    1846.    Still,    the    1860    census    for    New    Jersey    listed eighteen   elderly   slaves,   redesignated   “apprentices   for   life.”      While   a significant   minority   of   New   Jerseyans   was   somewhat   sympathetic   to Southern    interpretations    of    state    and    property    rights,    there    were    few,    however,    who    believed    in    the    right    of secession, or the extension of slavery into the territories. Although   most   of   New   Jersey’s   people   were   content   to   leave   slavery   alone   where   it   already   existed,   there   was   an active   abolitionist   community   in   the   state   by   the   1850s.   In   the   years   leading   up   to   the   Civil   War,   New   Jersey   boasted a   significant   number   of   “Underground   Railroad”   stations.   Stretching   from   Cape   May   to   Jersey   City,   these   havens harbored   slaves   escaping   to   freedom.      Important   “conductors”   included   Harriet   Tubman,   then   a   Cape   May   hotel cook,   and   William   Still,   New   Jersey   born   administrator   and   chronicler   of   the   “Railroad.”      The   state   also   provided   a refuge    for    the    Grimke    sisters,    prominent    white    Southern    abolitionists,    and    produced    home-grown    anti-slavery activists like Doctor John Grimes of Boonton. In   the   1860   election,   the   ambivalent   majority   of   New   Jersey   voters   split   their   electoral   vote   between   Abraham Lincoln   and   Stephen   A.   Douglas.   There   was   no   great   enthusiasm   for   war   in   the state,   but   the   Confederate   attack   on   Fort   Sumter   ignited   a   patriotic   firestorm,   and New   Jersey   sent   the   first   full   militia   brigade   to   defend   Washington.   By   the   end   of the   conflict,   the   state   had   raised   thirty-three   regiments   of   infantry,   four   of   militia, three   of   cavalry   and   five   batteries   of   artillery.      The   New   Jersey   adjutant   general recorded   88,305   men   who   served   during   the   war,   including   New   Jerseyans   who fought   in   other   states’   units   and   more   than   2,900   black   Jerseymen   who   served   in the   United   States   Colored   Troops   and   navy.   More   than   6,200   of   these   men   died in   service   from   combat   and   non-combat   causes,   including   as   inmates   of   prison camps.   Twenty-six   soldiers   from   New   Jersey   regiments   were   awarded   the   Medal of   Honor,   as   were   six   sailors   and   two   Marines   credited   to   New   Jersey   and several men born in the state but serving from other states. New   Jersey’s   soldiers   were   a   diverse   lot,   representing   the   ethnic   and   religious mosaic   that   became   the   state’s   twentieth-century   trademark.      Among   them   were native-born   Protestant   descendants   of   the   original Dutch   and   English   settlers,   like   Colonel   Gilliam   Van Houten   of   the   Twenty-first   New   Jersey   Infantry   and Surgeon   Gabriel   Grant   of   the   Second   New   Jersey Infantry,   and   Jews   like   the   capable   Captain   Myer Asch   of   the   First   New   Jersey   Cavalry.      And   then there   were   Catholic   Irishmen,   like   Captain   Michael Gallagher   of   the   Second   New   Jersey   Cavalry,   a leader   in   the   greatest   POW   escape   in   American military   history.      There   were   Italians,   like   musician Alexander    Vandoni    of    the    Twenty-seventh    New Jersey   Infantry,   Poles,   like   dashing   Colonel   Joseph Karge   of   the   Second   New   Jersey   Cavalry   and   Germans,   like   Captain   William   Hexamer of   the   First   New   Jersey   Artillery’s   Battery   A.   Two-thirds   of   the   men   in   the   Fifth   New Jersey   Infantry’s   Company   C,   recruited   in   Hudson   City   (part   of   today’s   Jersey   City), including   Mexican   Corporal   Calisto   Castro,   were   foreign   born.      Beginning   in   1863,   New Jersey’s   African   Americans   flocked   to   the   colors   as   well,   including   Sergeant   William Robinson   of   the   Twenty-second   United   States   Colored   Infantry,   who   was   commended by   his   captain   as   “especially   distinguished   for   gallant   conduct,”   and   Sergeant   George Ashby   of   the   Forty-fifth   US   Colored   Infantry,   who   died   in   1946,   the   last   surviving   New Jersey Civil War soldier. New   Jersey’s   women   made   their   presence   known   on   and   off   the   battlefields,   and   included nurses   like   Cornelia   Hancock,   who   was   known   as   “America’s   Florence   Nightingale,”   and Somerville   native   Arabella   Wharton   Griffith   Barlow,   who   nursed   her   husband,   a   general, back   to   health   and   later   died   of   typhus   while   tending   sick   soldiers.      Nationally   known Trenton   poet   Ellen   C.   Howarth   supported   the   troops   in   writing,   with   works   like   “My   Jersey Blue,”   and   famed   artist   Lilly   Martin   Spencer   of   Newark   painted   the   story   of   the   home   front, while   noted   abolitionist   Rebecca   Buffum   Spring   turned   her   Perth   Amboy   Eagleswood School into a military academy, putting her natural pacifism on hold for the greater good. Despite   a   strong   pro-southern   “Copperhead”   element   in   the   state   and   the   fact   that   New Jersey’s   electoral   vote   went   against   President   Lincoln   in   the   election   of   1864,   governors Charles   Olden   and   Joel   Parker   strongly   supported   a   Union   victory   and   future   governor Marcus   Ward   provided   so   much   aid   and   comfort   to   military   men   and   their   families   that   they dubbed   him   “the   soldier’s   friend."   Abroad,   New   Jersey   diplomats   like   William   L.   Dayton   and Thomas   H.   Dudley   contributed   materially   to   the   Union   cause   by   blocking   Confederate attempts to secure foreign assistance. In   1840,   27,000   New   Jerseyans   were   involved   in   industrial   production.   By   1860,   that   number   had   more   than doubled.   New   Jersey’s   industrial   might   soon   went   to   work   to   help   win   the   war,   as   the   state’s   civilian   manufacturing base   rapidly   converted   to   military   production   in   a   preview   of the   nation’s   World   War   II   experience.      Garment   makers   like John   Boylan   of   Newark   and   Nathan   Barnert   of   Paterson manufactured    hundreds    of    thousands    of    uniforms,    while cutlery   manufacturers,   including   James   Emerson   of   Trenton and   Henry   Sauerbier   of   Newark,   turned   out   thousands   of swords   and   bayonets.      Skilled   workmen   at   Charles   Hewitt’s Trenton   Iron   Works   made   1,000   musket   barrels   a   week   at the   height   of   the   war   and   Paterson’s   Rogers,   Ketchum   and Grosvenor    Locomotive    Works    built    many    of    the    railroad engines      that      contributed      to      the      significant      Union technological advantage that tipped the scales to victory. New   Jerseyans   fought   in   all   the   war’s   major   campaigns,   distinguishing   themselves   in   numerous   battles.      The   state’s citizens   supported   their   soldiers   in   the   field   and   produced   the   sinews   of   war   that   made   victory   possible.      All   of   their sacrifices   assured   the   survival   of   a   united   and   free   country.   It   was   not   a   country   without   problems,   but   one   with infinite   possibilities   that   have   carried   us   into   the   twenty-first   century.   For   this   we   owe   a   deep   debt   of   gratitude   to those long dead men and women of the nineteenth century.  And for this we will remember them. - Joseph G. Bilby
A Newark Leather factory in the Civil War era.     (Industrial Interests) Rogers, Ketchum and Grovener locomotive The General built in Paterson, NJ as seen circa 1907 at Union Station, Chattanooga Tennessee Lincoln's NJ 1860 County Percentage of the Popular Vote
New Jersey Civil War Heritage Assn PO Box 442, Wood-Ridge, NJ 07075 Info@njcivilwar.org
Preserve, Protect and Educate about New Jersey;s Civil War Heritage New Jersey
New Jersey in the Civil War
 Civil War Heritage Assn