American History and Genealogy Project


Civil War 1860 - 1866

1860 - 1866.

Civil War - Close Light Guards - Excitement During War- First Port Johnson Coal Dock

Rumors of war with the South, at this period, were freely discussed among the inhabitants. War was the topic everywhere. It was talked about in the meeting-house, in the store, by the fire-side at home, and in the fields. Farming was neglected.

In the spring of 1861, the great Civil War broke out. Middle aged men and youths hastened to enlist, 'while the old men and boys remained at home to work the farm.

The local military company, called the Close Light Guards,1 was merged into Company E of the Second New Jersey, in April, to serve for three months. This company drilled at the Mansion House, then located on Grand Street, Pamrapo. In August, 1862, most of them re-enlisted for nine months' service in Company C, Twenty-first New Jersey. They were sent to Washington. Others enlisted in New York and Jersey City.

During the war, the post-office was besieged with anxious inhabitants for letters from their loved ones guarding the Capitol and on the fighting border. New York newspapers, such as the "Tribune," "Herald" and "Post," were bought and read with eagerness. Food products went up. Milk was sold at thirty cents per quart, yeast as high as twenty cents, and tea at $1.50.

A military company wearing the French uniform, called the Duryea Zouaves, camped for nearly a year on the property now used as a picnic grove on the Newark Bay shore in Pamrapo. This company was not composed of local men. They were a rough lot, and always in mischief. The inhabitants were not sorry at their departure.

At last the long years of war passed by, and the survivors returned home. There was great rejoicing, except for those who had lost their dear ones. The little township had done its first important duty, and that was in serving its country. The first coal dock at Port Johnston (on the Kill) was completed and in operation in July, 1866. This place became one of the principal coal depots in the country. It was named in honor of the President of the C. R. R. of N. J. at that time.

1. Named after J. B. Close, a local resident.

Source: First History of Bayonne, New Jersey, by Royden Page Whitcomb, Published by R. P. Whitcomb, 24 East 37TH Street, Bayonne, N. J., 1904.


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