Sunday, August 5, 2012
Civil War Sunday - For the Love of Country
I'm recovering from the euphoria of a "cousins reunion" here in my home near Johnson City, New York (a "Union" state during the Civil War) complete with us Skyping family in Texas (former Confederate state), Illinois (former Union state) and Florida (former Confederate state).
Not all of this particular group of cousins could attend, but I am hoping we gathered enough contact information to be able to stay in touch.
Such an everyday thing, here in 2012. We take it for granted that families can get together, despite distance and yes, sometimes despite individual politics.
Now fast backward to the Civil War our country fought against itself in 1861-1865. A common expression is that "brother fought brother" and in some cases it was literally true.
One of the complicated things about the Civil War was how intertwined we were, even in 1861, even before the days of Interstate highways, the telephone, the Internet and, yes, internet communication services such as Skype.
There are some well known instances of families being split apart.
Varina Davis, the First Lady of the Confederacy, had relatives in both the Union and Confederate armies.
Mary Todd Lincoln, the First Lady of the Union, grew up in a slave holding household and had a brother and other relatives in the Confederate army.
And, perhaps the best known example of "brother vs. brother" was two of the children of a United States senator, John Crittenden. One became a general in the Union army and one became a general in the Confederate army.
I haven't had time to do the requisite research but the question I had was: how did these families reconcile after the war? Or did they reconcile? Did the hatred continue for the rest of the family members' lives? Have any of their living descendents continued the hatred, or have the reconciliations been made.
Now THAT would be a story worthy of a blog.