Library & Archives
New Jersey Militia. Monmouth and Ocean Brigade. 2nd Regiment (Allstrom Light Guard)
Records, 1861 November 23 and December 7
Carla Z. Tobias
Monmouth County Historical Association
70 Court Street
Freehold, New Jersey
When civil war came to America in April 1861, Jerseymen rushed to join volunteer regiments that went forth to confront the men of the rebellious southern Confederacy. Not all of New Jersey's men answered the call, though, for various reasons. Some of those men who stayed behind, wanting to perform some sort of patriotic service, formed militia companies. These companies were often named after the town in which they were organized or after the man who commanded them.
One such company was the Allstrom Light Guard. It was organized in the fall of 1861 by musician John V. Allstrom. He commanded the company and held the rank of captain. One of the members of the unit was Samuel T. Sleeper, who would later serve as captain of Company I, 11th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers. Sleeper was killed in action at Spotsylvania, Virginia on May 12, 1864.
Allstrom appears to have trained his men well. A front page article in the January 2, 1862 issue of the Monmouth Democrat newspaper describing a New Year's Day militia muster in Freehold remarked "...we wish to call the attention of amateur soldiers to the commands of Capt's. Forman, Stagg, and Allstrom, all new companies, but all of them giving the best evidence by their performance here that officers and men alike understand their duty and live up to it." Allstrom helped organize other militia companies, as a document in this collection indicates that he supervised an election of officers for three companies that took place on December 7, 1861.
Allstrom's association with New Jersey's Civil War militia came to an end in July 1862 when he recruited, and took command of, Company G, 14th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers. On May 6, 1864, Allstrom was promoted to major of the 3rd Regiment, New Jersey Volunteer Cavalry and served with that unit until the end of the war. Following the war he founded the Allstrom and Company Academy of Music, located at the corner of Broad and White Streets in Red Bank, which he eventually passed on to his son. Allstrom died on August 3, 1906 and is buried in the Glenwood Cemetery, West Long Branch.
DESCRIPTION OF COLLECTION
This collection consists of ten Allstrom Light Guard membership forms and a single page synopsis of the results of an election of officers for three militia companies. The election was held in the home of Robert Laird of Colts Neck and was administered by Captain Allstrom.
Nine of the ten membership forms contain the name of a member of the company and Captain Allstrom's signature. The tenth form is blank.
While the MCHA archive does not contain any other collections concerning the Allstrom Light Guard, there are several collections that relate to John V. Allstrom, Samuel T. Sleeper and Civil War-era Monmouth County militia units. Collection 1 Peter Vredenburgh Papers and Collection 9 William Burroughs Ross Papers, both contain references to Allstrom. Vredenburgh and Ross served with Allstrom in the 14th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers. Collection 19 Yard Papers contains letters and documents relating to Civil War-era militia activities, as James S. Yard held the rank of major in the 2nd Regiment, Monmouth and Ocean Brigade, New Jersey Militia. Collection 57 Josephine Brown Collection contains a brief history of the Raritan Guard, a militia company founded in Raritan Township during the Civil War. Collection 62 Captain Samuel T. Sleeper Collection, contains letters and documents relating to Sleeper's service with Company I, 11th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers. Collection 134, US Army, NJ Infantry Regiment, 14th, Company G (1862-1865) contains the enlistment papers of 95 of the 98 men who enlisted in that unit, which was originally commanded by Allstrom. Subjects Alphabetical Collection 98, Letters, contains a single page December 1862 letter from Governor-elect Joel Parker to Allstrom. The Monmouth Democrat and Monmouth Herald and Inquirer newspapers of Freehold, available on microfilm in the MCHA library, contain many articles describing militia activities in Monmouth County during the Civil War. The MCHA Photographic Collection contains two wartime images of Allstrom taken while he was serving as captain of Company G, 14th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers (photographs P-445 and P-446). For a complete list of the MCHA's Civil War holdings, see the librarian for a copy of the guide to the MCHA Civil War collections.
No material was separated from this collection.
Provenance: Gift of Mrs. Alma Harrison
Number of items: Eleven; 0.25 inches
Folder 1. Allstrom Light Guard member forms, 1861 November 23. Ten items.
Ten membership forms for the Allstrom Light Guard, nine of which bear the name of a member of the company. A tenth form is blank. Forms are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the member, with the blank form last.
Folder 2. Results of election of officers, 1861 December 7. One item.
A single page synopsis of the results of an election of officers for three militia companies. The election was supervised by Captain Allstrom and was held in Colts Neck at the home of Robert Laird.
1. Gabrielan, Randall. Images of America: Red Bank, Volume III. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 1998.
2. Greenbaum, Fred. Monmouth County Veterans Grave Registration. Freehold, NJ: Monmouth County Department of Human Services and Veterans Affairs, 1998.
3. "New Year's Day Militia Muster." Monmouth Democrat (January 2, 1862): 1.
4. Stryker, William S. Record of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War. Trenton, NJ: John Murphy, 1876.
This page last updated 31 July 2008.