Successful Businessmen Had Civil War Experiences
A Jewish Hungarian born immigrant served as a Private in the 1st New York “Lincoln” Cavalry Regiment under General Carl Schurz. The unit fought under Gen Phil Sheridan in the 1864 Campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. Joseph Pulitzer, founder of the Pulitizer publishing empire including the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the New York World, and a famous philanthropist, served from 1864 through the end of the War, about eight months. He was recruited by a Massachusetts military recruiting group and his passage to Boston was paid by them. Realizing that the recruiters were taking advantage of the immigrants, Pulitzer escaped their grip, made his way to New York and enlisted in the Lincoln Cavalry and pocketed the $200 bounty. He was just 17 years old. He was assigned to Company L and although he spoke three European languages, German, French and Hungarian, he never needed to learn English because the Lincoln Cavalry was made up of German immigrants. Pulitizer did not learn to speak English until after the war. Pulitzer rode in the May 24, 1865 Victory Parade in Washington, DC after which he was mustered out.
Another highly successful businessman who served in the cavalry was Eli Lilly of Indiana. He had completed pharmaceutical training and opened a pharmacy in Greencastle. He was recently married when the war began. Lilly recruited classmates, friends and business contacts and formed the Lilly’s Hooser Battery, 18th Indiana Light Artillery, composed of six 10-pound Parrott Rifles and about 150 men. The 18th served in the West in Tennessee,and Georgia and was in the Battle of Chickamauga. The unit completed its three year enlistment and was mustered out in 1863. Lilly and many others then reinlisted in the 9th Indiana Cavalry serving with Wilson’s Cavalry Corps. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel . He was captured in Alabama and spent the remainder of the war as a POW in Cahaba, Alabama. At war’s end was brevetted to Colonel. After the war Lilly founded the Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Company in Indianapolis which exists to this day as a prominent player in the industry. Lilly served as Chairman of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1893.