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L. Blumenberg

L. Blumenberg

Federal (USV)


Leopold Blumenberg

(1827 - 1876)

Home State: Maryland

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 5th Maryland Infantry

Before Antietam

He joined the Prussian military at the age of 21 and rose to the rank of first lieutenant. But, like thousands of German Jews of the time, he found his further progress blocked by anti-Semitism. In 1854 he emigrated to Baltimore, where he established himself as a small manufacturer and joined Har Sinai, a Reform congregation that thrives to this day. (Balt City Paper, 10/4/2000)

He was commissioned Captain of Company C of the 5th Maryland Infantry on 26 September 1861, and was promoted to Major on 10 October. He was on sick leave with bilious fever in June and July 1862.

On the Campaign

The 5th Maryland, Major Blumenberg commanding, was in General Max Weber's Brigade and was part of the assault on the Confederate positions in the sunken road at midday on 17 September 1862 at Antietam. He was wounded there by a gunshot to his thigh which broke the bone, and was relieved by Captains Bamberger then Marsh.

The rest of the War

He was absent due to his wound into February 1863, and resigned and was discharged on 9 March 1863 in Baltimore, on a Surgeon's Certificate of Disability. He was appointed Provost Marshal for the 3rd District of Maryland in May 1863, but was dismissed from the service in January 1865:

The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress include the following, sent in reply to the President's note of the same date requesting a pass for Isachar Zacharie and a hearing for Leopold Blumenberg:

Washington City, Jany 25 1865
Mr President
An order for leave to Zacharie as directed by you has been issued & sent to Mr Nicolay.

In relation to Blumenberg -- I had no knowledge of the proceedings in his case they having transpired during my absence, but the Provost Marshal reports that he was removed for cause of which a statement will be furnished you. Among other things one charge was, cruelty in ga[g]ging men to make them confess they were deserters. This charge General Fry [Colonel James B. Fry, Provost Marshal General of the Army] reports was fully established.

Your Obdt Servt
Edwin M Stanton
After Blumenberg's dismissal, President Lincoln appointed him superintendent of warehouses at the Baltimore Customs House. He was honored by brevet to Brigadier General for his war service.

References & notes

His service information from Wilmer1 and his Compiled Service Records,2 via fold3. The Lincoln Papers are online. Personal details from family genealogists and the US Census of 1860. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture is from an oil portrait on canvas, shared to the FamilySearch database by Linda M Burns. The original is in the Jewish Museum of Baltimore.

More on the Web

The Jewish Museum of Baltimore has a number of artifacts of Blumenburg's, including a sword and a dramatic painted plaster bust.


09/28/1827; Graudenz, West Prussia (now Grudziadz, Poland), PRUSSIA


08/12/1876; Baltimore, MD; burial in Har Sinai Cemetery, Baltimore, MD


1   Wilmer, L. Allison, and J.H. Jarrett, George H. Vernon, State Commissioners, History and Roster of Maryland Volunteers, War of 1861-5, Baltimore: Press of Guggenheimer, Weil & Co., 1898  [AotW citation 27531]

2   US War Department, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers who served in US Volunteer organizations enlisted for service during the Civil War, Record Group No. 94 (Adjutant General's Office, 1780's-1917), Washington DC: US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), 1903-1927  [AotW citation 27532]