This sketch from Harper’s Weekly, March 1865, shows liberated black residents welcoming the African-American troops as they enter Charleston.

Hartwick’s Quinn Offers Lecture on Elmira Civil War Soldiers

October 18, 2011

Hartwick College Professor of History Edythe Ann Quinn will offer a lecture titled "Beyond Fort Wagner: Elmira Men in the 54th Massachusetts" at 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 20 in Eaton Lounge, Bresee Hall, on the College campus. Her presentation is free, and the public is invited to attend.

Her presentation will focus on the service of the privates from Elmira, NY in Company F of the Union Army and that regiment's engagements in the Civil War. As Elmira was a stop on the Underground Railroad, its citizens had a long history of working to end slavery in the nation. Many of the area's black citizens had themselves escaped from slavery, and took up Frederick Douglass's call to enlist in the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

"Having liberated themselves, they were joining up to liberate their enslaved brothers and sisters," Quinn said. "According to local history, so anxious were Elmira men to serve that 'five men walked from Elmira to Boston to join up with the 54th.'"

Quinn, Dewar Professor of History at Hartwick College, was awarded a prestigious Gilder Lehrman Institute Fellowship in 2007. The fellowship-one of only 11 awarded to senior scholars-allowed Quinn to conduct an extensive study of documents at the New York Historical Society. Quinn's research concerns The Hills, an African-American community that thrived in Westchester County from 1790 through 1925. In 2005, Quinn was selected to participate in a seminar on American History at the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History at Harvard University.

Quinn's presentation is part of "Diverse Voices and Faces of the Civil War," Hartwick College's Civil War Sesquicentennial Celebration. For more information, visit

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable

Contact: Christopher Lott
Phone: 607-431-4030