(1835 - 1895)
Home State: Unknown
Command Billet: Staff Officer
Branch of Service: Cavalry
He was a large man (perhaps 6' 4" tall) from an "old Prussian military family of the titled nobility", and was serving in the 2nd Brandenburg Regiment of Dragoons as the American Civil War began. He left his Regiment and arrived, through the Federal blockade, at Charleston, SC in May 1862. He joined J.E.B. Stuart as Captain, PACS in June.1
General Stuart was greatly impressed by von Borke, reporting:
"Capt. Heros von Borcke, a Prussian cavalry officer, who lately ran the blockade, assigned me by the honorable Secretary of War, joined in the charge of the First Squadron in gallant style, and subsequently, by his energy, skill, and activity, won the praise and admiration of all".2von Borcke's 8 August 1862 appointment as Major was confirmed by the Confederate Congress on September 19th.3 Later in the month, Stuart again cited him in an after-action report:
"[near Brandy Station, Va, 20 Aug 1862] Maj. Heros von Borcke, my adjutant-general, was conspicuous in the charge, and led an important flank attack at the critical moment of the engagement..." 4
On the Campaign
von Borcke was MGen Stuart's chief of staff (adjutant-general) on the Maryland Campaign.
The rest of the War
Major von Borcke continued on Stuart's staff until seriously wounded in action at Middleburg, Va [historical marker], 19 June 1863. He had recovered sufficiently to be present at JEB Stuart's death after the battle at Yellow Tavern, VA in May 1864. He was appointed Lieutenant Colonel, PACS as of 20 December 1864.5
After the War
After the War he returned to Prussia, serving in the war with Austria (1866). He retired—for health reasons stemming from his 1863 wounds—to Neumarkt, East Prussia in 1867, then an inherited castle at Geisenbrugge. It was reportedly "his delight to fly the Confederate flag from its battlements".1
He published his memoirs of Confederate service (Zwei Jahre im Sattel und am Feinde. Erinnerungen aus dem Unabhangigkeitskriege der Konfoderirten, von Heros v.Borcke. Aus dem Englischen ubersetzt von Kaehler, Deutsche Original - Ausgabe. Berlin, E. S. Mittler und Sohn) in 1877. These were published in English in the US shortly after, and have been re-issued several times since. They are a popular resource, though perhaps not entirely reliable, containing significant exaggerations of von Borcke's role in the events of the War.
References & notes
Photo above from a full length portrait at the Library of Congress.6
1835 in PRUSSIA
1895; Berlin, Germany; burial in Geisenbrugge, Prussia (now Gryzin, Poland)
1 Levert, Suzanne, and The Civil War Society, The Civil War Society's Encyclopedia of the Civil War, New York: Gramercy/Random House Inc, 1997 [AotW citation 395]
2 JEB Stuart, report following the "ride around McClellan" of June 13-15, 1862.
US War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR), 128 vols., Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1880-1901, Series I, Volume XI, Part 1 [Serial 12] [AotW citation 396]
3 Confederate States Congress, Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865, 7 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1904-1905, Vol. 2, Pg. 300 (19 Sep 1862) [AotW citation 398]
4 JEB Stuart report of February 5, 1863.
US War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR), 128 vols., Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1880-1901, Series 1, vol XII, Part 2 [Ser# 16], Pp. 727 [AotW citation 397]
5 Confederate States Congress, Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865, 7 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1904-1905, Vol. 4, Pg. 388 (20 Dec 1864) [AotW citation 399]
6 US Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, Published c 1998, first accessed 01 January 2000, <http://www.loc.gov/pictures/>, Source page: Image ID# LC-USZ62-120787 (b&w film copy neg.) [AotW citation 400]