The “Civil War” divided not only the nation but many individual families. It is only too true that the conflict pitted brother against brother. Four of Lincoln’s brothers-in-law served in the Confederate army.
Henry Clay, dead by the time of the war, had grandsons who fought on both sides. John Crittenden, a U.S. Senator from Kentucky , who tired to prevent the war in 1860 with a compromise known as the Crittenden Plan, had sons clad in both blue and gray.
Dr. Thomas R. Turner, in 101 Things You Didn’t Know about the Civil War says it was rare for relatives to end up facing each other in battle, though there are numerous stories of wartime encounters. He says that some are “clearly apocryphal”. One he does mention was of Major A.M. Lea, part of the Confederate force that captured the USS Harriet Lane in a naval battle off Galveston, Texas. When Lea’s party boarded the Union ship, he found his son – a Union lieutenant – dying on its deck.
According to Dr. Turner, the duel between the Confederate ironclad Virginia and the Union ironclad Monitor had a family connection. McKean Buchanan, the brother of Virginia commander Franklin Buchanan, was aboard a Union ship sunk during the battle.
Do you know of any stories like that about the War? If so, we would love your comments below.