Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Brothers War

One of the reasons I remain fascinated with the American Civil War concerns the idea of brother fighting against brother. An e-mail I received in March of 2004 asked this question:

"This war is described as 'brother against brother'. I would love to know of any specific cases where this is true, such as best friends forced to fight against each other."

I responded:

"There are so many just during the Battle of Gettysburg. Rudolph Schwarz who fought for the Union on day 1 found his brother among Confederate prisoners. Wesley Culp for whose family Gettysburg's Culp's Hill was named, fought for the South and died during the battle. Henry Wentz, who also fought for the Confederates, stormed Union lines near his boyhood home just south of Gettysburg. Close friends Winfield Scott Hancock and Lewis Armistead fought on opposite sides with General Armistead receiving his mortal wound during Pickett's Charge in front of General Hancock's troops at Gettysburg. When the war started, Armistead and Hancock were serving together in California. As they parted ways, Armistead said something along the lines of "may God strike me dead if I ever lift a hand against you."

Other examples include Union General John Gibbon who had brothers who fought for the south. Confederate Cavalry Commander JEB Stuart's father-in-law fought for the Union. President Lincoln had relatives (on his wife's side I believe) who fought for the South."

Many of the stories noted above are discussed in the TravelBrain's Battlefield guides available on-line and at the Battlefields' Visitor's Centers. If you are new to the individual battles, these self guided audio tours are a great place to start. (No, TravelBrains is not connected with this site. I just like their products).

OK, that's just one e-mail of many more to come.



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