Marcus Spiegel, a German Jewish immigrant, served with the 67th and 120th Ohio Volunteer regiments during the Civil War. He saw action in Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana, where he was fatally wounded in May 1864. These letters to Caroline, his wife, reveal the traumatizing experience of a soldier and the constant concern of a husband and father.
Jean Powers Soman is a great-great-granddaughter of Marcus Spiegel. Her coeditor, Frank L. Byrne, is a professor of history at Kent State University and the editor of several books, including Haskell of Gettysburg: His Life and Civil War Papers.
“The greatest consolation I have during the last two weeks of continual fighting, marching, and hardship is that lovely picture of you and the dear children. . . . I am looking at it about 5 times an hour and I fear that sometimes I am talking to it. As soon as Vicksburg falls, I will come home and stay at least one month.”—letter from Colonel Marcus M. Spiegel to his wife, 23 May 1863
“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.”—Journal of Southern History
“A wonderfully vivid and detailed picture of military life . . . 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.”—Atlantic Monthly