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Book Focuses On Black Soldiers From White Plains In Civil War

Edythe Ann Quinn
Edythe Ann Quinn Photo Credit: Contributed
Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. — Edythe Ann Quinn, a Hartwick College history professor, has written "Freedom Journey: Black Civil War Soldiers and The Hills Community, Westchester County, New York."

Quinn’s book is the story of 36 African-American men who drew upon their shared community of The Hills for support as they fought in the Civil War. The Hills Community is what is now known as Silver Lake or West Harrison, crossing into White Plains and North Castle.

The work was published by SUNY Press and released six weeks ahead of schedule due to a large number of pre-orders.

According to the publisher’s website, “Through wonderfully detailed letters, recruit rosters and pension records, Edythe Ann Quinn shares the story of thirty-five African American Civil War soldiers and the United States Colored Troop (USCT) regiments with which they served. Associated with The Hills community in Westchester County, the soldiers served in three regiments: the 29th Connecticut Infantry, 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery (11th USCT), and the 20th USCT. The thirty-sixth Hills man served in the Navy.

Their ties to family, land, church, school and occupational experiences at home buffered the brutal indifference of boredom and battle, the ravages of illness, the deprivations of unequal pay and the hostility of some commissioned officers and white troops. At the same time, their service among kith and kin bolstered their determination and pride. They marched together, first as raw recruits and finally as seasoned veterans, welcomed home by generals, politicians and above all, their families and friends.”

Quinn is a professor of history and founding member of the United States Colored Troops Institute at Hartwick, which is in Oneon. She researches and teaches northern African-American community history and Race and Ethnicity in American history, among other areas of interest.

“What distinguishes Freedom Journey from other Civil War books is its combined histories of The Hills community, three regiments, and the experiences of the veterans on their return home,” explained Quinn. “The 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery and 29th Connecticut Infantry did not have modern regimental histories, and now they do and from the soldiers’ perspectives.”

For more information, contact Quinn at 607-431-4883 or quinne@hartwick.edu .

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