Thursday, October 28, 2010
The Artist And VMI Cadet
Moses Jacob Ezekiel was born October 28th 1844 in Richmond Virginia, where he attended the common school. He was the first Jewish cadet to attend the Virginia Military Institute. In 1864 he and other cadets from the VMI marched from Lexington when summoned by Confederate General John C Breckenridge, about 80 miles where they fought in the Battle of New Market. Ezekiel was wound during the fight. After he recovered he served out the war in Richmond, training new recruit for the Confederate army and defending the city.
When the war ended Ezekiel returned to VMI and finished his education. He moved to Berlin Germany in 1869 to study at the Royal Academy of Art. While he was in Europe, Ezekiel completed many of the pieces he is famous for including the memorial at VMI for the 10 cadets who killed New Market. He was admitted to the Society of Artists in Berlin, and at twenty-nine won the Michel Baer Prix de Rome.
Ezekiel died in Rome Italy March 27th 1917 and was place in a tomb there. In 1921 his body was moved to the Arlington National Cemetery and placed at the foot of his Confederate Memorial there. The Confederate Memorial was commissioned in 1914 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and was designed by Ezekiel.