Recruiting poster and lithograph of Camp William Penn, Cheltenham, PA, circa 1863.
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The Union Army recruited African American men for service, many of whom were trained at Camp William Penn outside Philadelphia.

Credit: (Left) New York Historical Society/Library of Congress; (right) The Library Company of Philadelphia

Located near Philadelphia, Camp William was the largest of the 8 northern camps set up to train African-American troops and the only one designated for black recruits only. The camp commander was Lieutenant Colonel Louis Wagner, a German-born officer in the 88th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, who had been badly wounded at Bull Run. By the time it closed in 1865, 10,940 men from Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey had passed through Camp Penn and there formed into eleven regiments.

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