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An Epic Story

The almost 11,000 black soldiers at Camp William Penn were among America's first African-American federal soldiers under the brand-new apparatus of the United States Colored Troops (USCT). During the Civil War they were stationed at Camp Penn, the first and largest federal facility to train Northern-based black warriors during the war from 1863 to 1865. During that period, they fought in many major battles, with several earning the Congressional Medal of Honor, as well as helped to corner Rebel leader Robert E. Lee and catch President Abraham Lincoln's assassins. The camp was located in what's today Cheltenham Township next to the home of the anti-slavery abolitionist and women's rights' advocate Lucretia Mott, just outside of Philadelphia, Pa., and became an epicenter of the Underground Railroad and the 19th Century civil rights' movement. The likes of Frederick Douglass, Octavius V. Catto, Harriet Tubman and William Still were associated with the legendary facility.

. . . In his new book, Donald Scott Sr. deftly details the good, the bad and the ugly of African-American soldiers' experiences during the war. The focus of Scott's meticulously researched effort is Camp William Penn, just outside Philadelphia, and the nearly 11,000 soldiers who trained there -- many of them runaways or ex-slaves . . . . The book is lavishly filled with fascinating period photos, newspaper graphics, correspondence and copies of military documents. It also contains a thorough bibliography and endnotes.

America's Civil War magazine


. . . a much-needed and excellent work. . . . Camp William Penn is indeed the best available source of information on the camp itself and the story of the often-overlooked African-American soldiers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware who marched out its gates and into history.

Civil War News


. . . In a new book, 'Camp William Penn: 1863-1865' (Schiffer Publishing), the historian Donald Scott Sr. describes how tourists thronged the place. 'Colored and white ladies and gentlemen left the city of Philadelphia in carriages, hacks, omnibuses and cars, for the camp of the colored soldiers to see them drill, and to see a flag hoisted,' a newspaper reported in 1863. The visitors using public transportation, Mr. Scott notes, would have been strictly segregated.'

The New York Times

. . . The book 'chronicles with pride and sensitivity little known facts pertaining to historic Camp William Penn and provides your readers much that has been omitted from so-called official versions of our nation's military history....' It 'is a description that stimulates the heart and soul as it does the mind. Camp Williamm Penn: 1863-1865 will be a welcomed addition to the Charles L. Blockson Afro American Collection.' Charles L. Blockson


Author's Biography & Presentations:  Don Scott lives in Cheltenham Township, Pa. where Camp William Penn was located. He has written the books indicated below, as well as hundreds of articles in America's Civil War magazine; The Journal-Register Media Co., The Philadelphia Inquirer; The Philadelphia Tribune;; England's National Archives' magazine, Ancestors and many other publications. Scott, a professor at the Community College of Philadelphia, has also contributed five stories to the African American National Biography, co-edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Higginbotham, as well as the Encyclopedia of Jim Crow, co-edited by Nikki Brown and Barry Stentiford. The graduate of the historically black college, Cheyney University, as well as the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, can be reached for signed copies or presentations at:




Access Scott's presentation at The National Archives via the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) in Philadelphia (hosted by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council) by clicking on:  MAKING HISTORY AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES


See Scott's presentation via the Community College of Philadelphia's Dialogues' program by clicking on:  AWARD-WINNING CCP-TV


See the author's interview with Brian Lockman, president of the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN), on the program PA Books, by clicking on:  CAMP WILLIAM PENN AIRED STATEWIDE













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Design and Social Media Promotions: Donald Scott, Jr.


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