Jewish Medal Of Honor Recipients From The Civil War

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Civil War-era Congressional Medal of Honor | United States Army

Medal of Honor Recipients

The U.S. Congress created the Medal of Honor for both the army and the navy during the Civil War. First conceived to “promote the efficiency of the Navy,” it became, and continues to be, the highest award for U.S. military valor in action. Only 1,523 of the more than 2.1 million Union soldiers and sailors who served in the Civil War were awarded the Medal of Honor. While many still rely on Simon Wolf’s list of Jewish recipients, the Shapell Roster’s research has shown that only four of the seven awardees he included were actually Jewish. A fifth recipient, Eugene Philip Jacobson, has been confirmed by the Shapell Roster as Jewish and added to this illustrious list:

Abraham Cohn

“The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Major Abraham Cohn, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 6 May 1864, while serving with 6th New Hampshire Infantry. During [the] Battle of the Wilderness Sergeant Major Cohn rallied and formed, under heavy fire, disorganized and fleeing troops of different regiments. At Petersburg, Virginia, 30 July 1864, he bravely and coolly carried orders to the advanced line under severe fire.”

Eugene P. Jacobson

“The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Major Eugene Philip Jacobson, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 2 May 1863, while serving with 74th New York Infantry, in action at Chancellorsville, Virginia, for bravery in conducting a scouting party in front of the enemy.”

Leopold Karpeles

“The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Leopold Karpeles, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 6 May 1864, while serving with Company E, 57th Massachusetts Infantry, in action during the Wilderness Campaign, Virginia. While Color Bearer, Sergeant Karpeles rallied the retreating troops and induced them to check the enemy’s advance.”

Benjamin Bennett Levy

“The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Private Benjamin Bennett Levy, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 30 June 1862, while serving with Company G, 1st New York Infantry, in action at Glendale, Virginia. Private Levy, a drummer boy, took the gun of a sick comrade, went into the fight, and when the Color Bearers were shot down, carried the colors and saved them from capture.”

David Urbansky

“The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Private David Orbansky, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in 1862 & 1863, while serving with Company B, 58th Ohio Infantry, in action at Shiloh, Tennessee & Vicksburg, Mississippi, for gallantry in actions.”