Published: November 8, 2011
Macculloch Hall Historical Museum, in partnership with the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee, presents a major exhibit, “Gone for a Soldier: Jerseymen in the Civil War,” on view at the museum until July 1.
The exhibition commemorates the participation and heroism of Jerseymen in a major turning point in US history. “While the true numbers of New Jersey servicemen may never be known, a realistic estimate might be 65,000 men from New Jersey who served in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps,” says John Kuhl, a member of the Sesquicentennial Committee.
Noted Jerseymen such as Major General Phil Kearney, who was killed at Chantilly in 1862, Commodore Charles Boggs, the naval “Hero of New Orleans,” and former Morristown residents such Rear Admiral John De Camp and Brevet Major General Joseph W. Revere all served under the New Jersey banner during the Civil War years.
Until now, many of the stories of the major contributions of Jerseymen to the Civil War effort have remained untold. “Gone for a Soldier” will make a major contribution toward telling these stories. The exhibit brings together for the first time nearly 200 objects from the Civil War from nearly 30 museums, historical societies and private collections.
Among the many objects in the exhibit illustrating the significance of Jerseymen’s actions in the Civil War is one of the few surviving banners of the Civil War, the battle flag of the 26th North Carolina Infantry. The 26th North Carolina was part of General Robert E. Lee’s army of Virginia. On the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg, it met a determined Union defense by the 12th New Jersey Volunteers, who captured its banner.
Other notable objects in the exhibit are the infantry coat that George Thompson of the 15th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry wore the day he was wounded; and the historic drum, decorated with hand painted patriotic motifs, carried by a musician in Company K, 12th New Jersey Infantry in famous battles such as Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.
Macculloch Hall Historical Museum has its own connections to Civil War history. Lindley Hoffman Miller, son of US Senator Jacob Miller and grandson of Louisa and George Macculloch, led the First Regiment of Arkansas Volunteers of African Descent. Commissioned as a captain in 1963, Miller shared his war experience through letters to his family, which are held in the museum’s archives.
The museum also holds the largest single collection of Thomas Nast original works in the United States. Among this collection are many of Nast’s drawings of Civil War subjects such as “A Gallant Color-Bearer,” published in Harper’s Weekly , September 20, 1862, and “The Drummer Boy of Our Regiment in Action,” Harper’s Weekly , December 19, 1863, which were generally thought to influence the course of the war.
A collector’s catalog of the exhibit is available in the museum shop. The catalog includes detailed color photographs of the objects in the exhibit.
Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is at 45 Macculloch Avenue. For more information, 973-538-2404, ext 10, or www.maccullochhall.org .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm