Camp William Penn

Camp William Penn

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Camp William Penn

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Camp William Penn was a Union Army training camp located in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania from 1863 to 1865, notable for being the first training grounds dedicated to African American troops who enlisted in the United States Army during the American Civil War. Some 11,000 free blacks and escaped slaves were trained there over the two years, including 8,612 from Pennsylvania, the most black troops recruited during the war from any northern state.Rappold, Scott, "Rare Civil War flag up for auction," York (Pa.) Sunday News, March 7, 2004.

After Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, many freed blacks stepped forward to fight in the army. Thousands of ex-slaves and free blacks displayed a desire to prove they were citizens, like the soldiers currently fighting the war. Often blacks who enlisted were treated rudely and were turned away. Camp William Penn became the "training camp for colored troops enlisted into the United States Army."

The family of Lucretia Mott, a women's rights advocate, leased land they owned to the Federal government so that a training camp could be established there. This parcel was located in Chelten Hills in Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, just outside the city limits of Philadelphia. Originally, the camp was to be named after Lincoln's Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton, but, when final plans were approved, the camp was named William Penn.

All of the troops at Camp William...
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