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Jewish Generals and Admirals in America's Military

A Judaica Collection Exhibit

Brevet General Leopold Blumenberg:
A Hero of the Civil War

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Leopold Blumenberg, a Jew, was born in Germany He was twenty-one when he joined the Prussian military and him quickly rose to the rank of first lieutenant in 1848. He was confronted with anti-Semitism within the military. He decided to leave Germany and the military and emigrated to Baltimore, Maryland.

He became a small manufacturer. He joined the reform temple, Hari Sinai, where he was active. Blumenberg was an avowed abolitionist and narrowly escaped being lynched by a secessionist mob in Baltimore in early April 1854

He was commissioned, a captain in the Fifth Maryland Infantry on September 26, 1861. A few months later, in October, he was promoted to Major and became the commanding officer of his regiment.

When the Civil War erupted, his unit was called upon to do battle in the Antietam Campaign against the Confederate Army led by General Robert E. Lee. The South was attempting to carry the war into the North in the hope of obtaining supplies and much needed men. The Union Army was commanded by General George B. McLellan, which was fortunate to find the battle plans of the Confederate Army.

The Antietam was the bloodiest one-day battle of the Civil War. More than 22,720 men of the Confederacy and the Union were killed. Major Leopold Blumenberg was severely wounded. He was appointed a brevet general which is an honorary rank without any an increase in pay or in authority.

Because of his wounds, Blumenberg was appointed a provost marshal for the 3rd District of Maryland in May 1865. He was mustered out of the Army in January 1865, and President Lincoln appointed him superintendent of the Warehouses at the Baltimore custom house.

Major Leopold Blumenberg died on August 12, 1876, in Baltimore, Maryland. He is buried in the Har Sinai Cemetery.

For additional information, contact
Special Collections and Archives
S.E. Wimberly Library

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Last updated 14 March 2008