b. 09/09/1838 Prague, Austro-Hungary (now Czech Republic). d. 02/02/1909 Washington DC.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 06/05/1864 Wilderness Campaign, Virginia.
Leopold Karpeles was born on September 9, 1838 in Prague, in then Austro-Hungary. When he was 12 he joined a brother in Texas who had a business. He would accompany caravans across the Mexican border protecting them from roving bandits and Indians. He went to Springfield, Missouri for business and there enlisted in the 46th Massachusetts Volunteers in September 1862 and was mustered out the following year on July 24, 1863. He reenlisted into the 75th Massachusetts Volunteers and was appointed Color-Sergeant.
On May 6, 1864 at the Battle of the Wilderness, Karpeles’ colors were the only colors remaining on the field in the woods full of fire and smoke in the face of the advancing Confederate forces. General Wadsworth seeing the colors stand resolute rode done the line to rally the retreating troops back to the flag to halt the enemy advance. This resolve in the face of the enemy advance earned him the Medal of Honor. He received the Medal on April 30, 1870.
Karpeles was at over a dozen battles to include Gettysburg, Petersburg, and Spotsylvania. He was wounded several times and once severely from a bursting shell striking him in the leg to cause a permanent limb. He was married with seven children and was a government employee after the war until his death.
While color bearer, rallied the retreating troops and induced them to check the enemy’s advance.
BURIAL LOCATION: HEBREW CONGREGATION CEMETERY, WASHINGTON DC.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: CONNECTICUT VALLEY HISTORICAL MUSEUM, SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS.