Category Archives: Meeting announcement

Meeting of February 9, 2023

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, February 9, in Camden County College’s William G. Rohrer Center, 1889 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003.The program will also be simulcast on Zoom for the benefit of those members and friends who are unable to attend; please email oldbaldycwrt@verizon.net at least 24 hours prior to request Zoom access. This month’s topic is

Timothy D Walker on “Sailing to Freedom: Maritime Dimensions of the Underground Railroad”

In 1858, Mary Millburn successfully made her escape from Norfolk, Virginia, to Philadelphia aboard an express steamship. Millburn’s maritime route to freedom was far from uncommon. By the mid-nineteenth century an increasing number of enslaved people had fled northward along the Atlantic seaboard. While scholarship on the Underground Railroad has focused almost exclusively on overland escape routes from the antebellum South, this groundbreaking volume expands our understanding of how freedom was achieved by sea and what the journey looked like for many African Americans.

With innovative scholarship and thorough research, Sailing to Freedom highlights little-known stories and describes the less-understood maritime side of the Underground Railroad, including the impact of African Americans’ paid and unpaid waterfront labor. These ten essays reconsider and contextualize how escapes were managed along the East Coast, moving from the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland to safe harbor in northern cities such as Philadelphia, New York, New Bedford, and Boston.

Dr. Timothy Walker is a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and serves as Fulbright Program Advisor. He is a member of the graduate faculty of the Department of Portuguese and an affiliated faculty member of the Center of Indian Studies and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. Walker is also an Affiliated Researcher of the Centro de História de Além-Mar (CHAM) at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. In September 2018 he was appointed Guest Investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Dr. Walker’s teaching fields include Early Modern Europe, the Atlantic World, the Portuguese and their empire, maritime history and European global colonial expansion. Current research topics include the adoption of colonial indigenous medicines by Europeans; climate data derived from colonial-era archival documentation; slave trading in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans; as well as commercial and cultural links between the Portuguese overseas colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

Meeting of March 9, 2023

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, March 9, in Camden County College’s William G. Rohrer Center, 1889 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003The program will also be simulcast on Zoom for the benefit of those members and friends who are unable to attend; please email oldbaldycwrt@verizon.net at least 24 hours prior to request Zoom access. This month’s topic is

Dan Casella on “We are not Soldiers, but Bulldogs: Cedarville Men in the 7th New Jersey”

In early December 1861, a group of newly minted infantrymen walked into a Washington City photographer’s studio dressed in their freshly issued sky blue overcoats and arranged themselves to have their likeness taken. The five men were either directly related to each other or were friends before they answered Abraham Lincoln’s call for volunteers and enlisted about a month earlier. Their overcoats were unstained from the rigors of any campaign and their cloth forage caps were stiff from the warehouse. As they waited for the photographer to lift the cover off his lens, they made last-minute adjustments to those coats and caps, the position of their hands, and the expression on their faces. None of these men had any idea of the trials and tribulations that lay ahead during the course of their three-year enlistment.

The green soldiers were a part of Company H of the 7th New Jersey Infantry, a regiment recruited out of Cumberland and Gloucester Counties in southern New Jersey. Cedarville and Fairton, where these men hail from, are small towns close to Delaware Bay. The area is interlaced by tidal rivers and streams, and many buildings from as far back as the 1750s to the turn of the early 20th century remain. The vacation destination of Cape May is not far away.

Some 160 years after it was taken, that image would send me on a quest to learn all I could about these men. I would quickly find out that Cedarville and Cumberland County have a rich and proud Civil War history.

Dan Casella writes from Cedarville N.J. A chef by training, he spends many weekends interpreting the Civil War to the public as a member of Liberty Rifles living history organization. President of the Lawrence Township Historical Society since 2019, he hopes to compile dozens of accounts in the society’s collections into a book about Cedarville men in the war.

Meeting of April 13, 2023

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, April 13, in Camden County College’s William G. Rohrer Center, 1889 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003. The program will also be simulcast on Zoom for the benefit of those members and friends who are unable to attend; please email oldbaldycwrt@verizon.net at least 24 hours prior to request Zoom access. This month’s topic is

Brad Gottfried on “Lee Invades the North: A Comparison of the Antietam and Gettysburg Campaigns”

The two major battles, Antietam and Gettysburg, that ended Lee’s invasion of the North are among the most studied conflicts in the American Civil War. However, no full treatment comparing the two campaigns has been published. This work attempts to rectify that deficiency.

Dr. Gottfried reviews and compares of all aspects of the two campaigns, including: The military and political environment at the beginning of each campaign; Why Lee undertook the invasions; The armies and their leaders; The condition of the armies; Military intelligence; Getting to the battlefield; Battles along the way; Battlefield terrain; Initial encounters; The three phases of battle in each campaign; The armies and their commanders-in-chiefs; and Post-campaign events and Final thoughts.

After receiving his doctorate in 1976, Brad Gottfried worked in higher education for over 40 years, retiring as the President of the College of Southern Maryland in 2017. He has written 13 books on the Civil War, including Brigades of Gettysburg, Kearny’s Own: The History of the First New Jersey Brigade, Hell Comes to Southern Maryland: The Point Lookout Prisoner of War Camp for Confederates, and the iconic Maps series of battlefields. Brad became an Antietam Battlefield Guide in 2019 and also serves as a Gettysburg Town Guide.

Meeting of October 13, 2022

Jim Remsen and Brad Upp on “Back From Battle: The Forgotten Story of Pennsylvania’s Camp Discharge and the Weary Civil War Soldiers It Served”

In the final year of the American Civil War, a special Union Army post was constructed just outside Philadelphia to handle a jumble of returning citizen-soldiers.

Many soldiers bore bullet wounds, broken bones, and other scars of combat. Some had lost limbs. Some were laid low by illness. Hundreds arrived half-dead as survivors of wretched prison camps. Others were blessedly unscathed—but all grappled with the fresh, ferocious memories of their time at war.

The post, known as Camp Discharge, did its best to move the young Union veterans on to their next assignment or, more often, back to civilian life. During its brief existence, it sat on a bluff overlooking what is today one of the nation’s busiest highways, the Schuylkill Expressway. The post was quickly dismantled, its story forgotten. The authors reclaim that remarkable history and trace the often tumultuous lives of the Pennsylvania volunteer soldiers who passed through Camp Discharge’s gates.

Jim Remsen is a journalist and author of several prior books; The Intermarriage Handbook; Visions of Teaoga; and Embattled Freedom. Since retiring as Religion Editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jim has pursued his keen interest in history, with a focus on underappreciated aspects of our nation’s local histories.

Jim Remsen and Brad Upp

Brad Upp is a board member of the Lower Merion Historical Society and a former educator. His upbringing near Camp Discharge stoked a fascination with history and led him to become a Civil War historian, relic hunter and re-enactor representing the 69th Pennsylvania Infantry. Brad is a skilled collector of artifacts from various periods of history, a passion that has taken him to a myriad of locations throughout the United States.