EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - For more than fifty years, residents of East Brunswick honored the community's Civil War dead with an annual Memorial Day event at Chestnut Hill Cemetery, situated in the town's Old Bridge Village Historic District. After a lapse of many years, this tradition is in being brought back to life on May 30th with several events in the Old Bridge Village section. One of those traditions involved a local student who recited Lincoln's Gettysburg Address at the Civil War veterans' plot. In preparation for this upcoming Memorial Day, local students ages 10 to 14 are encouraged to sign up for this ceremony. One student will be selected and receive a $100 US Savings Bond.
Special events will honor the two Old Bridge men who died during the Civil War: Capt. Benjamin F. Lloyd, and Pvt. William A. Rogers. These events include Civil War living history, provided by the 2nd NJ Brigade and a walking tour of Old Bridge Historic District, featuring the homes and stories of the village men who served in the Civil War, and the reading of the Gettysburg Address. It was this famed oration which articulated our nation's commitment that all of its residents shall share in the true meaning of the Declaration of Independence. A bloody Civil War was fought to ensure our freedom and equality for all Americans.
Of the two local men who died, Benjamin Frank Lloyd was the proprietor of the Railroad House Hotel, formerly known as the Old Bridge Tavern. He served as the local militia captain and was responsible for maintaining forty stands of arms and equipment and for overseeing the local militia. He became the captain of Company A of the 28th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry in September, 1862. His young son, Charles, served as the company drummer. Lloyd caught typhus while in military camp and returned to his home in Old Bridge Village, where he died in 1863. He was one of the first burials at Chestnut Hill Cemetery, although the location of his grave is now unknown.
William A. Rogers, age 17 in 1860, was the namesake of his father, Captain Rogers, who sailed between Old Bridge Village and New York City, carrying goods and produce to the metropolis from his dock on the South River. Young William was killed in action on May 3, 1863 at the battle of Chancellorsville, but his body was not recovered. His family erected a marble obelisk to his memory at a high point in Chestnut Hill Cemetery. New research has identified more information about his service, and his death. His remains are in a mass grave in the soil of Virginia. His childhood home still stands.
Sponsored by the Old Bridge Village Heritage Center and Alice Appleby DeVoe Memorial Library Association, dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and publication of the unique history of Old Bridge Village, a National Historic District. For more information, please contact us at OBVHC@outlook.com.