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April 07, 1961 - Image 25

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1961-04-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

`The American Jew as Patriot, Soldier, Citizen'
Seven Received Medal of Honor During Civil War

BY HARRY SIMONHOFF

(Copyright, 1961, Jewish Telegraphic
.
Agency-, Inca



11

As Jewish immigration, es-
pecially out of Czarist Russia,
mounted in the 19th Century,
anti-Semitic sniping increased.
In 1891, one . J. M. Rogers
wrote a letter, published in
influential North Ameri
e ad
view, which stated t
never seen, nor •
he ever
hear of, any Jew aring a uni-
form in the Ci War. He chal-
lenged Jews give the names
of the reg ents they condes-
cended to ccept service in."
This
s more than S•
Wolf
ld bear. The
tingui
an
d Jewish sp
from
had 1 ed in Washi
first-
1862 0 1923, an
rendered
han of the s =
ides of the
by
ws on
outoft e
s t
ggle In
ar d for
t person
k
not .ufficient
ledge
malicio
re to the s ers
mies. Such ocu entary e
record t
ce should
slanderer
e anti - Sem
in silence.
the midst of a b-usy law
pro *ce, and while. actively
gag
ip,
in Jewish lea
g. and
Simo
olf _spe
weary •
into dusty
records and gathering statistics
that were still available. Ob-
viously he could not assemble
all the data about Jews in the
armed service of the North and
the South.
In many cases the religion of
the enlisted was not mentioned,
and some states did ' not have
any military rec erds of the war.

J

HaPPY.
Our Frie

assover -to All
d Customers

LOTUS ARDENS

Specializing in
American and Chinese Foods

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UN 1-5270

Yet he listed by name the 6,000
JeWish soldiers in the Union
armies, and 1,200 Confederates.
These statistics are admitted-
ly incomplete and sometimes
faulty. In many cases he could
only s religion of
e. As we
now.
the
of
used n their
origin or si •lify them o c
form • with • the environmen
Thus 6,000 might be a smalle
numbe
an actually serve
in
rmies of the Union
1,200 would appear to b
less than those in the Co .
federate ranks. -
The Southern Secretary f
Seddon,
War, James
er of J ish
puted the
Conf erate
soldiers in
armies to
as high
10,000
. These fi
es are
to
an exagge ion, since
ire Jewis
pulation of
South hardly
e orth and
•eded 15
0 souls.
In 189
imon Wolf pub-
• results of his re-
lished
s in a book, "The Ameri-
sea
ew as Patriot, Soldier and
tizen." As yet no • one has
equaled or even approached the
relative completeness of this
work. He dug out the number .
ei
of Jews who received
the Con-
gressional Medal of Honor.
-In the Second World War,
one Congressional Medal of
Honor was bestowed upon a
Jewish soldier out of the 550,-
000 Jews serving in the armed
forces. In World War I, out of
250,000 Jewish enlisted men,
three were decorated with Con-
gressional Medals of • Honor.
But' in the Civil War seven
were iwarded, as is- told in
Wolf's "The American Jew as
Patriot, Soldier and Citizen:"

"On the 12th day of 'July, 1862,
President Lincoln gave his approval
to an Act of Congress authorizing
the President to cause to be pre-
pared 2,000. 'Medals of honor„' to
be presented to such non-commis-
v
sioned
officers' and pri ates as shall
themselves by their
most
gallantry in action and other

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any obligation whatever.

soldier-like qualities during the
present insurrection.
"I am not prepared to say how
many soldiers of the Jewish faith
were honored by such medals, but I
can mention seven who have come
under my notice.
"First, Leopold Karpeles, color-
sergeant of the 57th Massachusetts
Infantry, at the battle of North
Anna, proved his ability to defend
the flag under a terrific fire from
the enemy. Although seriously
wounded he held the colors aloft
until weakness from loss of blood
forced him to give them to a corn-
rade. Sergeant Karpeles has high
testimonials from his superior offi-
cers for bravery, daring and dis-
cipline, and is at present a clerk
n the General Post Office Depart-
ent.
"Second, Benjamin B. Levy en-
listed at the age of 16 as a
drummer-boy in the last New York
Volunteers. While his regiment was
stationed at Newport News he was
detailed as orderly for General
Mansfield. While he was carrying
dispatches on board the steamer
'Express' to General Wool at For-
tress Monroe, the steamboat was
attacked by the Confederate gun-
boat 'Seabird'; the steamboat with
all on board was in imminent dan-
ger of capture, when young Levy
saved the steamer by cutting loose
a water-schooner they had in tow.
For his prompt action Levy was
highly complimented by Generals
Mansfield and Wool. At Charles
City Cross Roads, he saved - two of
the colors of his regiment from
capture for which he was promoted
on the field by General Kearney
to color-sergeant of his regiment. At
the expiration of his term he re-
enlisted in the 40th New York
(Mozart) regiment, and was se-
riously wounded at the battle of
the Wilderness. He was appointed
by President Lincoln to the New
York Custom House.
"Third, Sergeant-major and - Ad-
jutant Abraham Cohn -enlisted as
private in the 6th New Hampshire
Infantry. Adjutant Cohn received
the medal of honor from the As
sistant Adjutant General's office,
and he was subsequently the re-
cipient of the • following highly
gratifying communication: 'T h e
medal mentioned within was given
for conspicuous gallantry displayed
in the battle of the Wilderness, in
rallying and forming, under heavy
fire, disorganized troops; also for
bravery and coolness in carrying
orders to the advance lines under
murderous fire in the battle of the
Mine, July 30, 1864. (Signed)- S. M.
Benjamin, Assistant Adjutant Gen-
eral.' .
"Fourth, David Orbanski, of the
58th Ohio Infantry, received the
medal of honor for distinguished-
bravery and coolness under heavy
fire at Shiloh, Tenn., and at Vicks-
burg, Miss.
"Fifth, Henry Heller, of Company
A, 66th Ohio Infantry, earned the
medal, of honor for daring bravery
at Chancellorsville.
"Sixth, Abraham Grunwalt, of
Company G, 104th Ohio Infantry,
earned his . medal of honor at Frank-
lin, Tenn., Nov. 30, 1864, in the
capture of corps headquarters' flag.
"Seventh. Corporal Isaac Gans, of
the 2nd Ohio- Cavalry, for bravery
displayed on the battlefield was
apnqinted escort to a stand of
colors captured by the Third Divi-
sion."

UN Gets Fund
for Nazi Victims

UNITED NATIONS, N.Y.;
(JTA) — A special bureau to
process applications for indem-
nification by certain-persons
were- victims of Nazis
g.
- n •stab-
World War II has
lished. by the U ed ations
High Commissio
for Refugees
it was announc
The UN Hig
Refugees, Fe
appointed a S
Schlatter to h
nitication sect
administer a of
45,000,000 deutschemarks (about
$11,000,000) "to provide assis-
tance to national persecutees,
other than those who already
have a claim under the German
Indemnification Law," Schnyder's
anouncement stated.
"In order to qualify • for pay-
ments," said the High Commis-
sioner, "a person must have been
a refugee on Oct. 1, 1953, regard-
les's of his present regdence, even
if, in the meantime, he has lost
refugee status by returning to
his home country or by acquiring
a new nationality. Surviving de-
pendents of persons who have
died as a result of (Nazi) perse-
cution may also qualify under
certain conditions."
Applications for inderimifica-
don under this program must be
filed at the office of the High
Commissioner in Geneva not later
than Dec. 31, 1961. So far,
Schnyder said, about 1,000 ap-
plications have been filed, pri-
marily from persons of Russian,
Polish or.Ukrainian origin.

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Best Wishes For A Happy Passover
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