(1811–84) U.S. senator, Confederate cabinet member, and lawyer, born at Christiansted, St. Croix, West Indies. The first (acknowledged) Jew elected to the U.S. Senate (1852), Benjamin became known as “the brains of the Confederacy” by serving not only as its attorney general, secretary of war, and secretary of state, but also as a close adviser and confidant to President Jefferson Davis and Varina Howell Davis. As secretary of state, Benjamin arranged the Erlanger loan from a Paris bank to the Confederacy (1863), the only significant European loan of the war, and drew up instructions for Confederate peace commissioners who met with President Abraham Lincoln and William H. Seward at the Hampton Roads Conference (1865).
From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Warfare and Defence.