Edward Selig Salomon (December 25, 1836 – July 18, 1913) was a German Jew who immigrated to the United States and served as an Union brigadier general in the American Civil War and later became governor of Washington Territory and a California legislator.
Early life and career
Salomon, who was Jewish, was born in the Duchy of Schleswig. He emigrated to Illinois in 1856 and 5 years later, at age 24, was elected an alderman of Chicago's sixth ward in 1861, the youngest in Chicago history.
In July 1861, Salomon was commissioned as a first lieutenant in Colonel Friedrich Hecker's 24th Illinois Infantry Regiment. Disagreements arose between Hecker and some of his officers, after which Hecker and his supporters resigned, including Salomon. Salomon became a civilian again from December 1861 to September 1862. In August 1862, Hecker formed a new regiment, the 82nd Illinois Infantry, or the "Second Hecker Regiment", composed mainly of German, Jewish, Swedish, and other European volunteers. Salomon joined and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel on September 26, 1862.
Salomon became a hero during the Battle of Gettysburg. He had two horses shot out from under him and assumed command of the regiment when Hecker was wounded. Fellow-immigrant major general Carl Schurz, his corps commander, described him during the battle: "He was the only soldier at Gettysburg who did not dodge when Lee's guns thundered; he stood up, smoked his cigar and faced the cannon balls with the sang froid of a Saladin ..."
Early in 1864, Hecker resigned, leaving Salomon in permanent command of the regiment, although still as a lieutenant colonel. Salomon led the regiment during the Atlanta Campaign and through the capture of Atlanta. Assigned to deliver messages to Nashville, he missed the famous march to the sea. In December 1864, he rejoined the regiment and finished out the war with them. He received a brevet promotion to brigadier general on March 13, 1865.
After the war, Salomon returned to Chicago where he was elected clerk of Cook County.
On March 4, 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Salomon governor of Washington Territory. He was caught up in the political scandals of the Grant administration and resigned in 1872. The Pacific Tribune newspaper, commenting on his resignation, lauded his honesty and integrity. General Philip Sheridan led a delegation that presented him with a silver table service in recognition of his fine record of service, high qualities as a citizen, and as a friend.
Salomon moved to San Francisco, where he practiced law. In 1898 Salomon was appointed assistant district attorney for the city and county. He was elected to the California state assembly in 1888. Salomon died in San Francisco and is buried in Salem Memorial Cemetery, Colma, California.