MANALAPAN, NJ - Step back in time to April 1861, when the Confederate attack on Union troops at Fort Sumter ignited the Civil War and galvanized the residents of New Jersey.

Come immerse yourself in history at the Monmouth County Library’s “Muster in Manalapan,” an afternoon of entertaining and educational Civil War programs for the whole family, to mark the 150 anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

The Muster will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 10 at Library Headquarters, 125 Symmes Drive, Manalapan

The Monmouth County library invites you join us as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, a defining moment in the heritage of our great nation,” said Renee Swartz, Monmouth County Library Commission Chair. “Join neighbors and friends at the Muster – designed as an interactive educational experience - to gain a historical perspective of our developing nation.”

“The Monmouth County Library's Muster in Manalapan is just the beginning of a series of Civil War programs throughout the Library designed to help further our understanding of this watershed moment of American History," said Freeholder Lillian Burry, Library liaison. "We hope parents, educators -- and especially our young people -- will take full advantage of these fascinating programs."

The muster will give eventgoers the chance to sample authentic food of the Civil War era -- food of both the North and the South – as prepared by Whole Foods Market Middletown.

The keynote speaker for the event will be noted lecturer A. Wilson Greene, who is executive director of Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier located near Petersburg, Virginia. Greene will speak on Avoidable Tragedy or Irrepressible Conflict: Was the Civil War Inevitable?

Afterwards, enjoy programs featuring Civil War era music by the Libby Prison Minstrels and living historians from the 14th New Jersey Regiment. Talk with Sara Emma Edmonds, a female Civil War soldier who embarked on 11 spy missions. Have your picture taken with President and Mrs. Lincoln.

Browse different display tables and meet Civil War historians like author Joe Bilby, who is publications head of the NJ Civil War Sesquicentennial.  Meet and chat with Confederate and Union soldiers, find out more about the role of the Irish during the Civil War, and learn about the Battle of Olustee, the only Civil War battle fought in Florida.

The Muster in Manalapan is just one of more than two dozen Civil War Sesquicentennial  events for all ages sponsored by the Monmouth County Library, beginning this March and running through May.  Lectures, movies, performances throughout the Library branches will highlight the importance of Civil War, and the Library will also host  programs especially for teens and children.

The Library’s Civil War commemoration includes programs on President Lincoln in March, to mark the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s first inaugural, just prior to the firing on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

On Sunday, March 20, at 2 p.m., Library Headquarters in Manalapan will host The Backwoodsman & the Belle: Recollections from the Lives of Abraham & Mary Todd Lincoln. This extraordinary program from the American Historical Theatre features Abraham and Mary Lincoln discussing their lives, their children, their challenges and their motivations. The performers are costumed historic interpreters Robert Gleason as Abraham Lincoln and Pat Jordan as Mary Todd Lincoln.


On Monday, March 21, at 7 p.m., Dr. David Martin, President of the NJ Civil War Heritage Association, will speak on Lincoln in New Jersey. It is not commonly appreciated that he had ancestors who lived in New Jersey. Emphasis will be placed on the significance of his visit to the state in February 1861 on the way to his inauguration in Washington. The talk will take place at Library Headquarters in Manalapan.


And the events continue into April and May:


-- All Other Nights: A Novel by Dara Horn author talk

Author Dara Horn will be available via telephone about her Civil War spy thriller. The 19-year-old son of a wealthy Jewish import-export family enlists in the Union army and is sent on espionage missions that reveal an American Jewish population divided by the Mason-Dixon line.

10:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 6, Marlboro Library

-- The Irish in the U.S. Civil War: Glas, Gorm's Liath (or Green, Blue & Grey)

Learn about the involvement of Irish men and women in America's Civil War, culturally, socially, politically, in both the Confederate and Union Armies, from Fort Sumter through Vicksburg. Presented by Micheal O'Maille, teacher and lecturer of Claddagh na nGael, (the Irish Shore).

7 p.m., Thursday, April 14 at Library Headquarters in Manalapan.

O’Maille will also give a talk on the Irish during the Civil War at the Wall Township Library at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 20.


-- Performance: Conversation with Moses

Harriet Tubman and Sarah Bradford share tea and some wonderful stories of Harriet's life. The performance is presented by Local Commotion Walking History, and will be followed by tea and other refreshments courtesy of Whole Foods, Middletown.

2 p.m, Saturday, April 16 at the Eastern Branch Library, in Shrewsbury.

-- The Legend of Freedom Quilts and the Underground Railroad with Trish Chambers

This young adult program, performed in period costume, discusses the history, legends and personal stories that make up the rich heritage of the Underground Railroad. Presented at:

Marlboro Library, Saturday, April 30 at 2 p.m.

Eastern Branch, Sunday May 1 at 2 p.m.

Wall Library, Saturday, May 7 at 11:30 a.m.

-- Civil War Dance Classes

Recreating the grace and elegance of a bygone era with dancing and more. Dressed in period clothing, members of the Civil War Dance Foundation will conduct a dance demonstration of basic reel and quadrille movements.

Saturday, May 7, at Library Headquarters in Manalapan.

Dance sessions will be held at noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m.

-- Civil War Fashion and Historic Displays

Experience first hand what the fashion of the 1860’s was like. Come explore and try on examples of accurately made reproductions of period clothing. For ladies, gents, and children! Also: come see historic displays of original Civil War jewelry, newspapers, and photography.  Intended for teens and young adults.

Saturday, May 7, at Library Headquarters in Manalapan.

Sessions will be held at 11:30 a.m., and 1, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.


-- Meet a Civil War Nurse!

Meet a historic medical professional from the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.  View authentic medical instruments and artifacts. Learn about the role of the care giver, alternative medicine methods, and medical innovations of the time. For grades 6 and up.

11 a .m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 7, at Library Headquarters in Manalapan

-- Civil War Events for Kids

Truth Telling: A Visit with Sister Sojourner and Sister Harriet Tubman

Storyteller Lorraine Stone will bring to life the words, wisdom and wit of the two greatest orators of the Abolitionist movement. Stone's riveting portrayal of Sojourner Truth has been performed at schools, libraries and programs around the state. For grades 3 and up

1 p.m., Saturday, May 14, at Library Headquarters in Manalapan.

-- The Blue or the Gray: Traveling Trunk Show

Discover how the Civil War divided the country; handle reproduction uniforms and artifacts carried by soldiers; learn to sing a Yankee and a Rebel song from the period.  Presented by the Monmouth County Historical Association. For grades 3 and up.

Library Headquarters, Saturday, May 14, at 2 p.m.

Eastern Branch in Shrewsbury, Saturday May 21 at 2 p.m.

And that’s just a sampling of the events! For more information on Civil War events, please call your local Library branch, or visit the Library website at