The Jewish Confederates by Robert N. Rosen
In his latest study of the Civil War, Robert N. Rosen introduces readers to the community of Southern Jews of the 1860s, heretofore lost to historians and the general public. With the exception of Judah P. Benjamin, Jewish Confederates are largely unknown even to specialists of American Jewish history and Civil War history. Rosen reveals the remarkable breadth of Southern Jewry’s participation in the war and strength of Jewish commitment to the Confederate cause. Intrigued by the apparent irony of their story, Rosen weaves a surprisingly complex chronicle that dispels misconceptions about the Confederacy, its leadership and soldiers, and its Jewish population.
Rosen finds that although many members of the established, prominent Jewish communities of Charleston, Richmond, and Savannah volunteered for battle, the majority of Jewish Confederates were recent immigrants. He describes the communities they established throughout the South and explains their reasons for supporting the cause of Southern independence.
This chronicle relates the experiences of officers, enlisted men, businessmen, politicians, nurses, rabbis, and doctors. He recounts the careers of such important Jewish Confederates as Judah P. Benjamin, a member of Jefferson Davis’s cabinet; Col. Abraham C. Myers, quartermaster general of the Confederacy; Maj. Adolph Proskauer of the 125th Alabama; Maj. Alexander Hart of the Louisiana 5th; and Phoebe Levy Pember, the matron of Richmond’s Chimborazo Hospital. He narrates the adventures and careers of Jewish officers and profiles the many “Jewish Johnny Rebs” who fought in infantry, cavalry, and artillery units in every major campaign.