By: By CSM Sam Yudin, CA ARNG
The United States Military has a long and proud tradition of family members serving together. This phenomenon has taken different shapes over the years. During World War II, when a higher portion of the population served, it was more common for families to send all their sons to war. More recently, fewer of the population shoulders the burden of military service. Yet, some families have a history of service, so there continue to be families that send multiple sons and daughters off to serve.
The Department of Defense started to take notice of the incredible burden of family loss when there were casualties during World War I I . Steven Spielberg’s 1998 film Saving Private Ryan dramatized this situation. There was no policy to address how to handle multiple casualties in one family until the 1948 Special Separation Policies for Survivorship or, as it is more commonly known, the Sole Survivor Policy. The greatest burden bore by one family was the Sullivans. At the Naval battle of Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942, 687 men were killed in action, including five Sullivan brothers, when the USS Juneau was sunk. The practices of the policy were implemented during World War II and have continued in every war since.
There is a great Jewish American Military History story to be told about one Jewish family’s extraordinary military service. The four Salomon brothers were originally from Ströbeck, Halberstadt, Prussia. As residents of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, all four served during the Civil War. Charles and Frederick were officers, Edward was the Governor of Wisconsin, and Herman was an enlisted man. Their cousin Edward S. Salomon, originally from Schleswig, Prussia and later of Chicago, Illinois, was also a Brigadier General in the Civil War. He eventually became governor of Washington Territory.
Brevet Brigadier General Charles Eberhard Salomon was born on June 24, 1824. In 1861, Charles joined the 5th Missouri Volunteer Infantry as a Captain. Members of the 5th Missouri elected Charles to be promoted to Colonel and command the regiment, which he did at the Battle of Carthage. He was discharged in August of 1861 but rejoined the Army in September of 1862, succeeding his younger brother Fredrick as the commander of the 9th Wisconsin Infantry. He led them at the First Battle of Newtonia, the Battle of Prairie Grove, the Battle of Helena and the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry. On January 13, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Charles for appointment to Brevet Brigadier General of Volunteers with an effective date of March 13, 1865. The United States Senate confirmed the appointment on March 12, 1866.
Brevet Major General Frederick Charles Salomon was born on April 7, 1826. While still in Prussia after high school, he was a government surveyor, an artillery lieutenant in the Prussian Army, and an architect student in Berlin before emigrating to Manitowoc, Wisconsin in 1849. In Wisconsin, he was county register of deeds, and the chief engineer with the Manitowoc and Wisconsin Railroad before joining the 5th Missouri Volunteer Infantry as a Captain in 1861. He served at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Frederick was then appointed Colonel of the 9th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and joined its “Indian Expedition.” Frederick was appointed a Brigadier General of volunteers in 1862. From 1862- 1864, as a member of the volunteers, he participated at the First Battle of Newtonia, the Battle of Helena, the Battle of Elkin’s Ferry, and the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry. On January 13, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Frederick for appointment to Brevet Major General of Volunteers with an effective date of March 13, 1865. The United States Senate confirmed the appointment on March 12, 1866. Frederick later became the surveyor general of Utah Territory, where he died on March 8, 1897 at the age of 70, and was buried in Salt Lake City.
Edward Salomon was born on August 11, 1828. He attended the University of Berlin and emigrated in 1849. After arriving in Wisconsin, he was a school teacher, surveyor, deputy circuit court clerk. In 1852, he moved to Milwaukee, where he became a lawyer. He won election for Lieutenant Governor in 1861, and in 1862, when Governor Lewis P. Harvey drowned in the Tennessee River while inspecting Wisconsin troops after the Battle of Shiloh, Edward became Wisconsin’s 8th Governor, and the first German-born and Jewish governor.
Herman Salomon was born January 1, 1834. He enlisted on September 4, 1861 in Co. I of the First Missouri Volunteer Engineer Regiment and was discharged as a Sergeant at East Point, Georgia on September 28, 1864. He died on September 20, 1881 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Originally published in the Shavous 5780 Jewish-American Warrior