In his exhaustive Civil War Narrative, Shelby Foote made an offhand mention about Lee’s lines around Richmond being stretched so thin he couldn’t even give his Jewish soldiers a day off for Passover. I always figured this was a weird little throwaway line, but by this telling of it, Lee’s army had quite a sizeable Jewish population. While this is a very slanted article, it’s an interesting one for detailing Jewish involvement in (and according to the author, acceptance by) the Confederacy.
Yet many of us in the South, including those descended from old Jewish families of the Confederacy, still struggle to expose the truth about why Southern soldiers fought, the courage they showed against overwhelming odds, and the sacrifices they made.
The history of the Confederacy is full of long-forgotten tales of Jewish heroes, warriors, and leaders. This is a story little known today, absent from history books and an embarrassment to liberal Jewish historians ashamed of the prominent role played by Jews in supporting, defending and fighting for the Confederacy. It is a government about which they know little except for its association with slavery.