Thursday, August 17, 2006
The Fighting Fleishmans of Gadsden County, FL: Forgotten Jewish Confederates
The Simon Wolf index is a list of Jewish Civil War veterans originally compiled in the 19th century. The index does not include any of the Florida Fleishmans. Benjamin and Simon Fleishman served in the 6th Regiment of the Florida Infantry. Simon, born Feb. 21, 1840, was listed in the 1860 census as living with Samuel Fleishman's brother Philip. Like Philip and Benjamin, Simon was a native of Bavaria - possibly he was another brother, but more likely a cousin since he was as much as 18 years younger than Samuel. Benjamin was listed in the census as boarding with the family of Ferdinand and Fannie Fleishman and their child Samuel. Born about 1832, Benjamin was also, like Ferdinand (born about 1835), a Bavarian. As discussed in the Fleishman paper in the SHJ Journal, Philip found a substitute to serve in the Confederate army in his place. Ferdinand is listed under the 6th Regiment, but apparently never served and left for the North where, as recounted in The Israelite, he committed suicide under miserable, lonely circumstances in July 1864.
Service records of Simon and Benjamin Fleishman:
SIMON FLEISHMAN: enlisted in Quincy on March 12, 1862 as a private in Co. B of the 6th Infantry FL. He was captured at Missionary Ridge (TN) on Nov. 25, 1863 and confined in the Union p.o.w. camp at Rock Island, IL on Dec. 1, 1863. Simon was released upon swearing an oath of allegience on June 22, 1865. He is described as 5'7.5", with "fresh skin, dark hair, hazel eyes." Simon was the only of the Jackson-Gadsden Fleishmans to remain in Florida long after the War. He was an "active businessman in Quincy in the post-war period" and a building on the west corner of the south side of Quincy's town square was known as the "old Simon Fleishman building." In 1907, Simon applied for and received a Confederate army service pension from the state of Florida. It is not clear that he ever married.
[UPDATE AUG. 23, 2010: Fate of Simon Fleishman solved - Born in 1840, Simon "Fleischman" was buried in Chicago in 1908 - See: http://genealogytrails.com/ill/rebelsoldiersa-g.html ]
BENJAMIN FLEISHMAN: enlisted at Chattahoochee on June 14, 1862 as a private in Co. B of the 6th Infantry, FL. He was wounded at Chicamauga, GA on Sept. 20, 1863 and captured at Nashville, TN on Dec. 16, 1864. Benjamin was confined at Camp Chase, OH on Dec. 20, 1864 and was released after swearing the oath of allegience on May 11, 1865. Benjamin had some business interests in Jackson County after the war and briefly served as county treasurer. He died in the mid-1870s.
Record of the Florida 6th Florida Volunteer Infantry;
"The Regiment was formally organized on April 14, 1862 with the election of officers...After several months of training at Chattahoochee, the regiment was ordered to report to Knoxville, Tennessee....The 6th and 7th Regiments reinforced General [Edmund Kirby] Smith's army before the great Confederate invasion of Kentucky during the late summer of 1862. Moving fast out of Knoxville, through the Cumberland Gap, General Smith captured Frankfort and Lexington and threatened Cincinnati before his offensive ran out of steam. Many of the men in the 6th Florida weakened by the vigorous marching, poor food, and foul water, were laid low by disease... During the invasion of Kentucky the 6th Florida did not participate in any major engagements. For the next year the regiment was mainly used on guard and garrison duty in East Tennessee. The Unionist living in the mountains were a constant threat to the railroad that ran from Chattanooga, through Knoxville, to Virginia. The duty of guarding the railroad was dull but necessary. The Union offensive in Tennessee during the summer of 1863 changed this monotonous existence of the 6th Florida. The Confederates were forced to evacuate Knoxville, their small force there falling back to join General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee, which had been forced out of Chattanooga. This combined force retreated a few miles south to make a stand near Chickamauga Creek. At Chickamauga the 6th Florida had its baptism of fire. After Chickamauga all of the Florida regiments in the Army of Tennessee were formed into one brigade... This new brigade was stationed near the center of the Confederate line at the Battle of Missionary Ridge, and did not retire from the ridge until ordered to do so. After spending the winter at Dalton, Georgia, the 6th Florida was nearly constantly engaged in battle during the Atlanta campaign, suffering heavy casualties.... A much reduced regiment emerged from the Atlanta Campaign to take part in Hood's disasterous Tennessee invasion in late 1864. At the Battle of Nashville, the Florida Brigade, as well as the rest of the Confederate army, was virtually destroyed. The survivors retreated back to Mississippi. Here what was left of the 6th Florida was consolidated with the survivors from the other Florida regiments in the Army of Tennessee to form one regiment. This 1st (Consolidated) Florida Regiment was sent east to join Joe Johnston's army in North Carolina. Here they were finally surrendered to General Sherman's army at Greensboro, N. C. on April 26, 1865, three years after their violent adventure." [Posted by MelindaWebb Russ at http://history-sites.com/mb/cw/flcwmb/index.cgi?noframes;read=184]
Simon and Benjamin have both been added to the Jewish Civil War service database at http://www.jewish-history.com/database.html
[Flag image from http://www.florida-scv.org ]