Soldier's Life

    Brother Vs. Brother  "Matt. 12:25"

The story is told of a young Confederate soldier captured during a battle in the western theater. The Rebel found to his surprise that one of his Union captors was his brother, whom he had not seen since the beginning of the war. After a brief reunion, the captured soldier was led away and his brother returned to the battle. The captured Reb called back to his brother, "Don't shoot that-a-way no more- Father's over there!"

The American Civil War has been given many names, but perhaps the most fitting is "The Brother's War", for its history is filled with the stories of families divided by their loyalties to both the Union and the Confederacy.

Divided loyalties befell even the White House, for four of President Abraham Lincoln's brothers-in-law served the Confederate cause. One of them, Ben Hardin Helm, turned down a personal offer from Lincoln of a commission in the Union army and was later killed as a Confederate general in the Battle of Chickamauga. Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd, was from an aristocratic family in the border state of Kentucky, and the Washington gossip spoke of her as being proslavery and in favor of Southern secession. When senate members of the Committee on the Conduct of the War met to consider charges of treason against her, Lincoln made a surprise appearance and gave assurances that headed off further deliberation of the charges.

Border states naturally endured many divided families in the conflict. Kentuckian Henry Clay, "The Great Compromiser" who tried for many years to soothe the sectional strife that led to the war, had three grandsons fighting for the Union and four serving the Confederate cause. Kentucky Sen. John J. Crittenden had two sons serving as general officers during the war: Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden with the Union and his brother Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden for the Confederacy.

Fascinating Fact:  Maj. A.M. Lea was part of the Confederate boarding party that captured the USS Harriet Lane during the Battle of Galveston, Tex. On deck he found a dying Union lieutenant- his son.


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