"Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came."
- Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865
The Civil War was the central arena in which Lincoln came into contact with many more Jews and they with him. As newly arrived immigrants, Jews tended to be patriotic in order to integrate into society. As soldiers, they were generally loyal to their states, North and South. The Jewish soldiers who joined the Union military were influenced, in part, by Lincoln’s values. Many earned distinguished records of service, particularly at the Battle of Gettysburg. There were a number of largely Jewish regiments, and Jewish soldiers on both sides strove to maintain their Jewish identity and practice their religious rituals in the field. In one grisly instance, the war also demonstrated religious pluralism as Catholic, Protestant and Jewish deserters alike were executed while a priest, minister and rabbi looked on.