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History

Sanspeur
Sanspeur "Without Fear"

By Dr. (COL Ret) William C. Lowe, August 1997

A scholarly work chronicling the segregated Army from the Civil War thru the post-WWII period.

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Sea Girt
The New Jersey National Guard, 1869-1900

By Joseph G. Bilby

The post-Civil War New Jersey National Guard was a significant improvement over the state’s “shreds and patches” 1860 militia.

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102nd Cav
102nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mecz)

During the entire eleven months from D-Day to VE Day the 102nd had missions at, or very near, the front line of the American advance. Their missions took them through France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany.

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44th Infantry
44th Infantry Division

Activated after World War I as a National Guard Division in New Jersey and New York. The 44th landed in France via Cherbourg, 15 September 1944, and trained for a month before entering combat, 18 October 1944.

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22nd USCT
22nd United States Colored Infantry

By Joseph G. Bilby

A scholarly work on the history of the 22nd USCI during the Civil War published in Freedom to All - New Jersey's African-American Civil War Soldiers (Hightstown, NJ Longstreet House, 2011).

Painting by Peter Culos.

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George Ashby
First Sergeant George Ashby

By Joseph G. Bilby

The story of George Ashby, an African American who was the last surviving NJ Civil War veteran. Published in New Jersey Goes to War (Ridge Wood, NJ: NJ Civil War Heritage Assn:, 2010).

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New Jersey National Guard Pioneered the End of Segregation

The post-World War II era dawned with a new realization that the promises of the Civil War could no longer be denied, and the Civil Rights movement gained new strength based on the wartime sacrifices made by black men and women in defense of the country. 

In 1947 New Jersey adopted a new constitution, replacing the previous Constitution of 1844 and specifically forbidding racial discrimination. With this in mind, and considering the fact that the state’s National Guard, then engaged in a rebuilding effort, was actively recruiting men for the new Fiftieth Armored Division, Governor Alfred E. Driscoll advised Secretary of Defense James Forrestal that the New Jersey National Guard would be desegregated in compliance with the state’s constitution and that men would be recruited into units regardless of race. 

Driscoll then issued an order to his National Guard officers to disregard an army order stating that “mixed units are not authorized and Negroes cannot be enlisted in white units.” Forrestal passed the buck down to Army Secretary Kenneth C. Royall. Royall, in response to Driscoll, averred that although he considered regular army segregation to be “in the interest of national defense,” he would make an exception for the New Jersey National Guard because the people of the state, in voting for their new constitution, had indicated that “no person shall…be segregated in the militia because of race, color…” On February 12, 1948, the New Jersey adjutant general’s office published General Order No. 4, stating that “no qualified person shall be denied any military rights, nor be discriminated against in exercise of any military rights, nor be segregated in the militia because of religious principles, race, color, ancestry or national origin.”

New Jersey’s actions put the state decisively ahead of the federal government in eliminating discrimination in the military; the dream of equality New Jersey’s African-American soldiers fought so hard for in 1865 finally began to be realized in 1948. 

Telegram
The Adjutant Generals
The Adjutants General of New Jersey

This booklet introduces the thirty-two individual Citizen-Soldiers who have served as Adjutant General of the great state of New Jersey, from the auspicious year of 1776 to the present day.

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World War I
New Jersey and the Great War: Part I

By Dr. Richard J. Connors

An adapted version of Dr. Connors’ book, New Jersey and the Great War (Dorrance, 2017).

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World War I
New Jersey and the Great War: Part II

By Dr. Richard J. Connors

An adapted version of Dr. Connors’ book, New Jersey and the Great War (Dorrance, 2017).

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Fort Monmouth
1st Battalion, 114th Infantry Regiment

By Brian Darling

A scholarly work documenting the history of the 1st Bn., 114th Infantry, from the period of 1860 to the start of World War I.

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Last Updated: 10/19/2020
Museum Veterans History Project NJ Historical Commission NJ State Archives Journey Through Jersey

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