Author To Speak About NJ’s Civil War Generation

CRANFORD—The 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War takes place in April 2011. In recognition of this milestone, the Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee of the Cranford Historical Society and the Cranford Public Library will present a program about New Jersey and the Civil War on Wednesday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Avenue.

Joseph G. Bilby, editor of the recently published “New Jersey Goes to War: Biographies of 150 New Jerseyans Caught Up in the Struggle of the Civil War, including Soldiers, Civilians, Men, Women, Heroes, Scoundrels – and a Heroic Horse,” will present a PowerPoint® program based on the book.


“New Jersey Goes to War” contains biographies of a compelling cross-section of New Jersey’s Civil War generation, both famous and obscure, whose lives were affected by the conflict and the events surrounding it. Bilby will tell the stories of such colorful and varied personalities as eccentric airship inventor Solomon Andrews, courageous nurse Cornelia Hancock, who was initially thought too pretty to care for wounded soldiers, Lieutenant Alexander Hamilton, a scoundrel who absconded with Jersey City’s treasury after the war, J. Madison Drake of Elizabeth, who won the Medal of Honor, and First Sergeant George Ashby, an African-American, and the last surviving New Jersey Civil War veteran. Copies of “New Jersey Goes to War” will be available for purchase and for signing.

Bilby received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from Seton Hall University and served overseas as a U.S. Army officer in Vietnam. He is the assistant curator of the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey in Sea Girt, as well as a Trustee of the New Jersey Civil War Heritage Association. Bilby has authored and edited a dozen books on New Jersey and Civil War history.

Admission to the program is free and all are welcome. Funding for the program was made possible by a HEART Grant from the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs.

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