Every once in a while I come across a story that just knocks me out.
Of course I knew that some Jews fought for the South, but I never knew that the Jewish dead were segregated, excluded from burial—with proper honors—in Confederate military cemeteries.
Talk about irony.
But in a way, I suppose this anti-Semitism was a blessing in disguise for Jews should be buried in Jewish cemeteries.
The Hebrew Confederate Cemetery, located in Richmond, Virginia, is the only Jewish military cemetery in the world outside of Israel. It was created by the anti-Semitism of the two Confederate military cemeteries, in Spotsylvania Court House and Fredericksburg. They refused to bury the Jewish Confederate soldiers killed in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Wilderness. They didn’t want “Jewish boys” in their cemeteries.
They brought them to the Hebrew Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. They were buried in five rows, with six bodies in a row, in a self -contained hallowed area within the larger Hebrew Cemetery. Those buried came from Mississippi, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana.
Many of the local Jewish Confederate soldiers killed are not in this military cemetery as they were buried in their family plots at the Hebrew Cemetery. One of these soldiers was Isaac Levy of Richmond, Virginia.
He was 21 years old when he was killed in the trenches near Petersburg on August 21, 1864. He was an orthodox Jew, who wrote his sister that he and other Jewish Confederate soldiers managed to have a Passover Seder with Kosher food.
T.N. Waul, who commanded a Confederate Legion said, “Jewish soldiers were brave, orderly, well–disciplined and in no respect inferior to the gallant body in which they formed a prominent part. Their behavior in the field was exemplary and no Jew was ever before a court-martial. I never heard of any Jewish soldier shirking or failing to answer any call of duty and danger.”
Full story here.
The Hebrew Confederate Cemetery Plaque reads:
TO THE GLORY OF GOD
IN MEMORY OF
THE HEBREW CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS
RESTING IN THIS HALLOWED SPOT
HEBREW LADIES MEMORIAL ASSOC.
RICHMOND, VA. ORGANIZED 1866.
LIST OF BURIALS
M. Levy, Mississippi, killed May 31, 1862.
J. Rosenberg, Ga.
Henry Adler, 46th Va.
E.J. Sampson, 4th Texas, killed June 27th, 1862.
G. Wolfe, N.C.
I. Hessberg, Caroline co.
Henry Gersberg, Salem, Va., killed June 2, 1864.
T. Foltz, 16th Miss.
I. Cohen, Hampton (S.C.) Legion.
Sam Bear, Ga.
S. Bachrach, Lynchburg, Va.
Jonathan Sheuer, La.
J. Frank, Ga.
Henry Cohen, S.C. killed June 29, 1864.
Capt. Jacob A. Cohen, Co. A, 10th La., killed at 2nd Manassas, August 30, 1862, age, 33 years.
M. Aaron, N.C.
A. Lehman, S.C.
Julius Zark, 7th Louisiana.
A. Heyman, Georgia.
Lieut. W.M. Wolf, Hagood’s S.C. Brigade, died May 9, 1864.
Lieut. L.S. Lipman, 5th Louisiana, died May 9, 1863.
Erected by his brothers to the memory of Isaac Seldner, of the 6th Virg. Inf. Reg., born December 23, 1837, killed at the battle of Chancellorsville, Va., May 3rd, 1863. None knew him but to love him.
S. Weiss, Ga.
H. Jacobs, S.C.
E.B. Miller, died April 6, 1864.
Corpl. G. Eiseman, 12th Miss.
M. Bachrach, Lynchburg, Va.
S. Oury, 16th Miss.; died June 10, 1861.
A. Robinson, 15th Ga., died Jan. 26, 1863.
Richmond area Jewish Confederate soldiers, who were killed in battle, were buried in their family plots elsewhere in this cemetery. They are Gustavus Kann, 16th Mississippi; Henry Smith, Richmond, Otey Battery; Marx Myers, Richmond Grays; Isaac J. Levy, Richmond Blues and Captain M. Marcus, 15th Georgia, killed October 13, 1864.
Baruch Dayan Emet, Blessed is the True Judge