Jewish Soldiers in the Civil War: The Union Army
National Archives Museum
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What was it like to be Jewish in Lincoln’s armies? The Union army was as diverse as the embattled nation it sought to preserve, comprising a unique mixture of ethnicities, religions, and identities. Almost one Union soldier in four was born abroad, and natives and newcomers fought side by side, sometimes uneasily. Yet though scholars have parsed the trials and triumphs of Irish, Germans, African Americans, and others in the Union ranks, they have remained largely silent on the everyday experiences of the largest non-Christian minority to have served. Adam D. Mendelsohn draws for the first time upon the vast database of verified listings of Jewish soldiers serving in the Civil War as well as letters, diaries, and newspapers to examine the collective experience of Jewish soldiers and to recover their voices and stories. Joining the author in discussion will be Jenna Weissman Joselit, the Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies and Professor of History at the George Washington University, and Adrienne DeArmas, who wrote the foreword and will do a presentation on the Shapell Roster for Jewish Service in the American Civil War.
This program is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation.
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