Learn About Jews in the Civil War Aboard USS Constellation

The USS Constellation (Photo provided)

There’s nothing like telling a good story in just the right atmosphere. So, the Sept. 1 talk about Jewish-Americans in the Civil War given by reenactor Brad Stone aboard the historic USS Constellation may be just the ticket.

Originally commissioned in 1855, the Constellation patrolled and blockaded for Union interests and was in and out of active service through 1944. The ship, fully restored from 1995-1999, is now part of the nonprofit Historic Ships in Baltimore, which also oversees the US Coast Guard Cutter Taney, the USS Torsk submarine, the Lightship 116 Chesapeake and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse. All are within a few blocks of each other along the harbor.

Stone, a volunteer docent with the Constellation and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, will lead the talk aboard ship. The ship is a fitting location, as Baltimore Jews were a part of the first abolitionist/secessionist clashes of the Civil War, the Pratt Street riots, which took place nearby as Union Troops traveled between President Street and Camden stations in 1861.

Brad Stone (Photo provided)

“The Civil War divided the nation and the Jewish population, which was about 150,000. There were about 8,500 Jews fighting for the North and the South,” according to the Aleph Institute. “Many of them were commended for their bravery and resolute courageousness by their superior officers.”

Stone’s talk will focus on key Jewish players, critical Jewish roles and military contributions during the Civil War, including high-ranking Jewish U.S. Navy officers and how the war affected Jewish Americans.

Although Stone has given the talk at other venues, this is the first time on the Constellation. Attendees will be able to tour the ship.

“People hear about the major battles of the Civil War, but oftentimes don’t hear these untold stories. It’s the people stories that are most interesting,” said Historic Ships in Baltimore Executive Director Chris Rowsom. “The individual histories are often what people can relate to. It gives people a greater appreciation of our lives today and the service of those who went before us.”

The event is Sept. 1, 7-8 p.m., Pier 1, 301 E. Pratt St. For more information and tickets, visit historicships.org/mariner.html.


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