CDV OF C.S. MAJOR HEROS VON BORCKE

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Item Code: 1138-1057

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Bust view of von Borcke in uniform. He is wearing a military frock coat. Mount and image have been trimmed top and bottom. Period pencil identification is on back. Photographer’s backmark, Tanner & Vanness, Lynchburg, Va.

Johann Heinrich August Heros von Borcke (July 23, 1835 – May 10, 1895) was a Prussian cavalry officer and writer. Today, he is best known for his enduring memoir, Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence (1866), which recounts his two years' service (1862–1864) as a Confederate cavalry officer in the Army of Northern Virginia, during the American Civil War.

Von Borcke became a Prussian cavalry officer in 1855, served with the Guards Cuirassiers and until 1862 in the 2d Brandenburg Dragoons. Financial difficulties forced him to quit the service, and he emigrated to the Confederate States in 1862.

Von Borcke brought with him a massive Solingen straight sword, which would become famous during his ensuing career. By the end of the month, he had made his way to Richmond, capital of the Confederate States. He was given the rank of captain in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States on June 1 of that year and assigned to Major-General J. E. B. Stuart by the order of Secretary of War George W. Randolph. Von Borcke was conspicuous on the battlefield for his large height and girth and the extremely large sword he wielded, became known as the "giant in gray."

Von Borcke was promoted to the rank of major and he rode with General Stuart as his adjutant general during the Northern Virginia and the Maryland campaigns. During the Battle of Middleburg, Von Borcke suffered a significant wound from a bullet in his neck and was incapacitated for the remainder of the year. He recovered enough to resume staff duties in the spring of 1864, and was present at Yellow Tavern in which General Stuart was killed. In December of that year, he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel. He was then sent by President Jefferson Davis on a diplomatic mission to Great Britain.

With the collapse of the Confederate States in the spring of 1865 and the ensuing surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, Von Borcke returned to Prussia. He resumed his career and fought in the Austro-Prussian War on the staff of Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia.

From the William Turner collection.  [jet]  [ph:L]

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