Home page Jews in the Civil War Jews in the Wild West History of Palestine The Occident Virtual Library


Jewish-Confederate Soldier

Photo courtesy Beth Ahabah Museum &
Archives Trust
, Richmond, VA

Isaac J. Levy, 46th Virginia Infantry, was 21 years old when he was killed at the Battle of Petersburg. His parents, Jacob and Martha Levy of Richmond, put this matzevah (tombstone) over his grave at Shockoe Hill.

Translation of Hebrew inscription:

לזכר עולם
In Eternal Memory
יהי הצדיק הבחור
The Righteous Youth
יצחק בן ר'יעקב
Isaac son of Jacob
מת במלחמות פטרסבורג
Killed at the Battle of Petersburg
ביום א' י"ט ימים לחדש מנחם
On Sunday, the 19th Day of the Month of Av
שנת תרכ"ד לפ"ק
In the Year 5624
May His Soul be Bound up in the Bond of Eternity

וארח צדיקים כאור נגה הולך ואור ער נכון היום

In Memory of Isaac J.
beloved son of
Jacob A. & Martha Levy
who fell in battle
in front of Petersburg Va.
Sunday, August 21st, 1864
Age 21 yrs.--11 mos. & 3 days
May his soul rest in peace
"The Faith of the Religious is
Like the Brilliant Light that
Shineth More and More Bright
Until the Height of the Day"

"Gusta brought me the sad news of the death of Isaac Levy, a fine young soldier, killed in the trenches near Petersburg. He & his brother Ezekiel Levy have observed their religion faithfully, ever since they have been in the army, never even eating forbidden food. He leaves a devoted father & mother brothers & sisters to mourn his loss." Emma Mordecai, diary, Aug. 24, 1864.

"Went to see Mrs. Levy whose son Isaac was killed near Petersbg. on Sunday 21st. Was greatly interested in my visit to the family. Isaac was an example to all young men of any faith--to those of his own most especially. A true Israelite without guile--a soldier of the Lord & a soldier of the South. A noble patriot. His parents & sisters mourn for him as those mourn who while full of love, are also full of Faith and Hope and submission. If all our people were like that family, we would already arise & shine for our light would have come." Emma Mordecai, diary, Aug. 30, 1864.