>Subject: [www.washtimes.com] Confederate Blacks and Jew Soldiers
>Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 06:57:04 GMT
>drwila101@hotmail.com has sent you an article from The
>Washington Times.
>To Declan and Erik: Pass this on to Matt Stevens and Ariel
>Thomas C. Mandes
>The term "Johnny Reb" evokes an image of a white soldier,
>Anglo-Saxon and Protestant and from an agrarian background.
>Many Southern soldiers, however, did not fit this mold. A
>number of ethnic backgrounds were represented during the
> For example, thousands of black Americans fought as Johnny
>Rebs. Dr. Lewis Steiner of the U.S. Sanitary Commission
>observed that while the Confederate army marched through
>Maryland during the 1862 Sharpsburg (Antietam) campaign,
>"over 3,000 negroes had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers, bowie
>knives, dirks, etc. And were manifestly an integral portion
>of the Southern Confederate Army."
> There also were Hispanic Confederates. Col. Santos
>Benavides, a former Texas Ranger, city attorney and mayor of
>Laredo, Texas, commanded the 33rd Texas Cavalry, while Gen.
>Refugio Benavides protected what was known as the
>Confederacy of the Rio Grande. Recent Irish Catholic
>immigrants also chose to fight for the South, as did a few
>stalwart Chinese who served nobly in Louisiana.
>The largest ethnic group to serve the Confederacy, however,
>was made up of first-, second- and third-generation Jewish
>lads. Old Jewish families, initially Sephardic and later
>Ashkenazic, had settled in the South generations before the
>war. Jews had lived in Charleston, S.C., since 1695. By
>1800, the largest Jewish community in America lived in
>Charleston, where the oldest synagogue in America, K.K. Beth
>Elohim, was founded. By 1861, a third of all the Jews in
>America lived in Louisiana.
> More than 10,000 Jews fought for the Confederacy. As Rabbi
>Korn of Charleston related, "Nowhere else in America
>certainly not in the Antebellum North had Jews been
>accorded such an opportunity to be complete equals as in the
>old South." Gen. Robert E. Lee allowed his Jewish soldiers
>to observe all holy days, while Gens. Ulysses S. Grant and
>William T. Sherman issued anti-Jewish orders.
>Many young Jews served in the ranks. There were a number of
>Jewish officers who were part and parcel of Southern
>society. They had spent their formative years in the South
>defensive about slavery and hostile about what they
>perceived as Northern aggression and condescension toward
>the South. Some of the more notable among the officer corps
>included Abraham Myers, a West Point graduate and a
>classmate of Lee's in the class of 1832. Myers served as
>quartermaster general and, before the war, fought the
>Indians in Florida. The city of Fort Myers was named after
>Another Jewish officer, Maj. Adolph Proskauer of Mobile,
>Ala., was wounded several times. One of his subordinate
>officers wrote, "I can see him now as he nobly carried
>himself at Gettysburg, standing coolly and calmly with a
>cigar in his mouth at the head of the 12th Alabama amid a
>perfect rain of bullets, shot, and shell. He was the
>personification of intrepid gallantry and imperturbable
>In North Carolina, the six Cohen brothers fought in the 40th
>Infantry. The first Confederate Jew killed in the war was
>Albert Lurie Moses of Charlotte, N.C. All-Jewish companies
>reported to the fray from Macon and Savannah in Georgia. In
>Louisiana, three Jews reached the rank of colonel: S.M.
>Hymans, Edwin Kunsheedt and Ira Moses.
>Many Southern Jews became world-renowned during this period.
>Moses Jacob Ezekiel from Richmond fought at New Market with
>his fellow cadets from the Virginia Military Institute and
>became a noted sculptor. His mother, Catherine Ezekiel, said
>she would not tolerate a son who declined to fight for the
>He wrote in his memoirs, "We were not fighting for the
>perpetuation of slavery, but for the principle of States
>Rights and Free Trade, and in defense of our homes which
>were being ruthlessly invaded." In tribute to Ezekiel, it
>was written, "The eye that saw is closed, the hand that
>executed is still, the soldier lad who fought so well was
>knighted and lauded in foreign land, but dying, his last
>request was that he might rest among his old comrades in
>Arlington Cemetery."
>The most famous Southern Jew of the era was Judah Benjamin.
>He was the first Jewish U.S. senator and declined a seat on
>the Supreme Court and an offer to be ambassador to Spain.
>Educated in law at Yale, he was at one time or another
>during the war the Confederacy's attorney general, secretary
>of war and secretary of state. After the war, he settled in
>England, where he became a lawyer and wrote a seminal legal
>Simon Baruch, a Prussian immigrant, settled in Camden, S.C.
>He received his degree from the Medical College of Virginia
>and entered the conflict as a physician in the 3rd South
>Carolina Battalion, where he joined the fighting before the
>Battle of Second Manassas. He eventually became surgeon
>general of the Confederacy.
>While he was away during the war, his fiancee, Isabelle
>Wolfe, painted his portrait in the family home in South
>Carolina. It was at this time that Sherman began his March
>to the Sea. His raiders set the Wolfe house afire, and as
>she rescued the portrait, a Yankee ripped it with his
>bayonet and slapped her. Witnessing this, a Union officer
>gave the attacker a beating with his sword.
>From this, a romance began to blossom quickly squelched by
>the young woman's father, who remarked: "Marriage to a
>gentile is bad enough, but marriage to a Yankee, never,
>ever, it is out of the question." Isabelle Wolfe eventually
>married Baruch. After the war, they moved to New York City,
>where he set up what became a prominent medical practice on
>West 57th Street.
> Mrs. Baruch became a member of the United Daughters of the
>Confederacy, and the couple raised their children with
>pro-Southern views. If a band struck up "Dixie," Dr. Baruch
>would jump up and give the Rebel yell, much to the chagrin
>of the family. A man of usual reserve and dignity, Dr.
>Baruch nevertheless would let loose with the piercing yell
>even in the Metropolitan Opera House.
>Their son Bernard became the most successful financier of
>his time and one of the best-known American Jews of the 20th
>century. Bernard Baruch was an adviser to presidents from
>World War I to World War II and became a confidant of
>President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
>Today, little remains of the Jewish Confederate South. With
>the mass migrations from Russia and Eastern Europe, new
>immigrants knew little if anything of the struggle that had
>ensued during the preceding half-century. Confederate
>Southern Jewry eventually disappeared.
> Thomas C. Mandes is a physician in Vienna, Va.
>This article was mailed from The Washington Times
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>Copyright (c) 2002 News World Communications, Inc. All
>rights reserved.

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