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Musician J.C. Julius Langbein

USCIS Buffalo Field Office

Picture of Medal of Honor Recipient Musician J.C. Julius Langbein

J.C. Julius Langbein was born in Germany on September 29, 1846, and came to America shortly before his second birthday. The passenger list of the ship Edwina shows “Jules,” his mother Louisa, brother George, and sister Lina (Carolina) all sailed from Antwerp, Belgium, to New York City, arriving on August 25, 1848. Julius’ father Leonard arrived ahead of the family and settled in New York City. When Julius’ father became a naturalized U.S. citizen in October 1856, Julius and his mother and siblings all became U.S. citizens as well.

During the Civil War, Julius joined the U.S. Army in New York City and served as a musician in Company B, Ninth New York Volunteers, known as Hawkins’ Zouaves, after the French Army’s elite Zouave battalion. He received the Medal of Honor for his heroism during a battle against Confederate forces in Camden, North Carolina, on April 19, 1862.

The citation reads:

A drummer boy, 15 years of age, he voluntarily and under a heavy fire went to the aid of a wounded officer, procured medical assistance for him, and aided in carrying him to a place of safety. Langbein left the regiment in 1863 and later became a lawyer, state representative and judge. He served the Yorkville District in the New York State Assembly from 1877 to 1879. In November 1879, he was elected civil justice of the Seventh Judicial District, where he served from 1880 to 1886.

He received the Medal of Honor on January 7, 1895. The following month, on February 12, the New York Times published an essay-length letter to the editor in which he described revisiting battlefields during a trip to the South more than 30 years after the Civil War. An endnote states:

Judge Langbein has recently been awarded a medal by the Government for saving the life of an officer, Lieut. Thomas L. Bartholomew, now Inspector General, Department of Connecticut, Grand Army of the Republic, on the field of battle. When Judge Langbein enlisted as a drummer boy he was only thirteen years of age.

Langbein died on January 28, 1910. He is entombed in a mausoleum with a statue of the Civil War drummer boy at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.

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