Excerpts

Excerpts from Colonel Spiegel’s Letters in the Book

August 5th, 1862 Headquarters 67th Reg’t “My Dear Wife and Children, …and if anything does happen to me, I am only offering a small sacrifice for my beloved country which always so generous and kind, had opened her arms to receive the downtrodden of other nations. Give my love to our dear children and to all friends… Good-by. May God protect you, is the fervent prayer of Your true and loving husband M.M. Spiegel “

Suffolk, ‘Virginia, September 1, 1862 “My dear good wife! …I met today a Lieutenant Biroker a Yehuday from Alzei, who shed tears when he heard my name. He and his father were great friends of my dear father. He told me that the 25th of this month is Rosh Hashonah and the 4th (of) next month is Yom Cipur. He says there is a Synagogue in Norfolk, 12 miles from here. I shall go at all events, You and the children must keep both, keep the children out of school the 25 and 26 and 3rd and 4th for my sake and let us pray to the Lord God of Israel for the deliverance of this once happy Country and the Peaceful enjoyment of our family circle at the end of this unhappy War. God bless you all. Ever Your Marcus”

Milliken’s Bend, La. March 22, 1863 “My dear dear good Wife …Thank God I can leave my children a legacy which will inspire them to hold up their heads and walk uprightly through the world and that is “a reputation as a Soldier and Patriot”. I have always done my duty and if God spares my health I always will and know my love you will feel satisfied with me… Ever your true and loving, Marcus”

In the field near Big Black Miss. June 7, 1863 “My dear dear wife! It is nearly one year since I was called upon to witness the fourth birth of our beloved and blooming offspring. Well, do I remember your sufferings, as if it were but a moment ago, do I remember the heroic and womanly like demeanor and the loving and confiding looks I received from you during all your labor and the joy we both felt when the lovely and Pretty, Hattie was presented by my dear mother, who at once pronounced her” the prettiest child that she has ever seen. Allow me to congratulate you on her first “birthday”, May God our heavenly Father grant that we may live to see many many of them in peace, love, and happiness. May it please God to give us many happy days with our Children, so that we may raise them an ornament to Him an emulation to His teachings. I would love to be with you tonight. I know and feel you are just now thinking of me, but we will have to wait a while trusting that Vicksburg will soon fall. With hearty prayers for your welfare and that of our beloved Children, I remain to the best and loveliest Wife in the world A true and loving husband Marcus You don't know how much I love you”

Plaquemine La Jan. 22, 1864 “My dear wife, my sweet Cary! …Since I am here I have learned and seen more of what the horrors of Slavery was than I ever knew before and I am glad indeed that the signs of the times show, towards closing out the accursed institution… I am (in) favor of doing away with the institution of Slavery…”

Plaquemine La February 12, 1864 “My dear good and kind Cary! …Slavery is gone up whether the War ends today or in a year and there is no use crying over it. It has been an awful institution. I will send you the “black code” of Louisiana some of these days and I am satisfied it will make you shudder… Now understand me when I say I am a strong abolitionist, I mean that I am not so for party purposes but for humanity sake only, out of my own conviction, for the best interest of the white man in the south and the black man anywheres… Ever your true Marcus”

 

 

 

(Jean Powers Soman and her mother, Caroline Alschuler Powers, donated many of Colonel Marcus M. Spiegel's Civil War letters, documents  and  other related letters  to the American Jewish Archives).Jean Powers Soman also has some  of Colonel Marcus M. Spiegel's letters. photographs, documents and other related memorabilia in her private collection.

Excerpts from Book Reviews

THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY

Marcus Spiegel, a German-Jewish immigrant of 1849, found in the United States the freedom and opportunity that he could not have hoped for in the old country. He was mightily grateful and sprang to the defense of the Union when the Civil War broke out… his letters, as presented in this collection, make a wonderfully vivid and detailed picture of military life… the editors have provided extensive and very useful notes and have not tampered with the idiosyncratic spelling that arose from Spiegel’s lingering German accent. One virtually hears, the Colonel’s voice. One also comes to see this proud, enthusiastic, not impractical idealist as a friend, whose death, when his luck finally runs out, causes real grief.”

JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN HISTORY

“There were only a handful of Jewish officers in either army…An extraordinary view not only of the battles but of the greater American political, cultural and social milieu as a recently arrived outsider saw it…Well organized, skillfully annotated, and an eloquent delight to read, this fine book adds a long-needed and fresh dimension to both Jewish and Civil War scholarship.”