October 30, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

Jews and the Civil War: A Reader

Jews and the Civil War: A Reader

Language: English

Pages: 342

ISBN: 0814771130

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


At least 8,000 Jewish soldiers fought for the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War. A few served together in Jewish companies while most fought alongside Christian comrades. Yet even as they stood “shoulder-to-shoulder” on the front lines, they encountered unique challenges.

In Jews and the Civil War, Jonathan D. Sarna and Adam Mendelsohn assemble for the first time the foremost scholarship on Jews and the Civil War, little known even to specialists in the field. These accessible and far-ranging essays from top scholars are grouped into seven thematic sections—Jews and Slavery, Jews and Abolition, Rabbis and the March to War, Jewish Soldiers during the Civil War, The Home Front, Jews as a Class, and Aftermath—each with an introduction by the editors. Together they reappraise the impact of the war on Jews in the North and the South, offering a rich and fascinating portrait of the experience of Jewish soldiers and civilians from the home front to the battle front.

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mid-January, 1861, after Mississippi and Alabama had followed South Carolina from the Union, Watervliet Arsenal began to receive an ever-growing flood of orders for supplies. There were orders for artillery, carriages, and ammunition, for harnesses and small-arms cartridges, for muskets and for gunpowder. Everything that could be manufactured, taken from storage, purchased, or obtained from other nearby arsenals was being shipped in response to these orders. A large part, if not all, of the

a grim disappointment. The eight-week voyage on a sailing vessel almost took all the starch out of him; bad food and bad quarters left him shaken in body and soul when he arrived. He visited a cousin but was shabbily received and probably never called again; he knew no English, had no trade, and soon became so discouraged that he was almost disconsolate. His one friend, the man who had accompanied him here, soon left him in the lurch to take a job with a relative. His total fortune was ten

Jefferson Davis’s right-hand man, serving initially as Attorney General, a job that expanded because the president needed a prodigious administrator to help organize the government. Subsequently, Davis appointed him Secretary of War, to which he was named because Davis wanted to have a dependable and trusted friend who would not question the president’s decisions and yet would accept the blame for military defeats. Even after the harsh denunciations of Benjamin for failures on the battlefield,

often had mercantile connections in Europe and the Caribbean. The German and Eastern European Ashkenazic Jews, in contrast, arrived without significant business interests, were generally quite poor, and usually started their American careers as peddlers.8 The second, smaller group fled to America because they had participated in the 1848 revolutions or were opposed to the restoration of the conservative regimes. These revolutions, which occurred in areas inhabited by one-third of world Jewry,

1. 2. William S. Rayner, Address at the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Har Sinai Congregation (Baltimore, 1892). 3. Isr, July 27, 1855. 4. I. J. Benjamin, Three Years in America, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1956), vol. 1, p. 305. 5. AZJ, July, 1865, p. 617. 6. For a detailed discussion on the Germans in Baltimore during the Civil War see Dieter Cunz, The Maryland Germans (Princeton, N.J., 1948), pp. 284–315. 7. Deutsche Correspondent, May 13, 1891. The paper’s stand on the Civil War problems,

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