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Did the War really split families?
Transcript of Did the War really split families?
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Did The Civil War Really Split Families?
Although the Civil War term, "Brother Against Brother," originally meant that the nation was tearing apart, it turned out to mean much more. Not only was it one of the bloodiest wars on American soil, but it also tore families, friendships, and relationships apart. Here we will show you multiple anecdotes and examples that will help answer the question, "Did the War really split families?"
Ryne Roemer, Mackenzie Winchester
February 10-17, 2014
“ The divided family was a reality and symbolic of a divided nation. Even husbands and wives were sometimes split in their loyalties.” (
At that time, this was a very common thing for families. Friends and neighbors also chose different sides and sometimes fought against each other in battle. With that most of the split families came from the boarder states.
Even Lincoln's brother-in-law "split" from his family's opinion and became a Confederate General. Benjamin Hardin Helm was his name, and he was the brother-in-law of Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham's wife.
This is a picture of Benjamin Hardin Helm. Who at the beginning of the Civil War was a colonel and soon after promoted to brigadier general.
He was Mary's half-sister, Emily Todd Helm's, husband. The Todd family was originally wealthy slave owning family before the Civil war
"Often families were split
down the middle over their
beliefs on the war. There
are many instances of
divided loyalties and
even of individuals
fighting for both
A specific example of this comes from the Kanawha Valley of Virginia. It is a tale of Mary Forqurean and her brothers who fought for both sides.
Each sibling was told to be "defending their families and their way of life." At first they must have not put into consideration that they would initially be fighting against their own brethren; but they did anyway because they were protecting the beliefs of the families that they had brought up on their own.
So, in a sense, you could say that the Forqurean family was split because of the Civil War. Maybe they didn't have a big dilemma about each of them choosing a different side, but their family's beliefs were split right down the middle: Confederates or the Union.
Another story is the Shriver Brothers who had a peaceful life in Union Mills, Maryland.
One brother, Andrew, was the owner of a few slaves. But the other brother, William, was against slavery. When the war broke out these brothers completely stopped communicating, even though they lived across the street from each other. The brothers never did make up and never did socialize after the war was over. The Civil War without a doubt slashed this family into what seemed like two families. They acted out like they were rivals.
So clearly, by the evidence we summarized, families definitely did split up during the Civil War. From brothers to cousins, and many others, there is no doubt families definitely did, split up during the Civil War.
Even though the brothers didn't actually fight in the Civil War, their sons did. Cousin against cousin, they fought for what they believed and not really caring that they were fighting against there own cousins.
One example of a border state split families is the Crittenden brothers. These brothers came from Kentucky (which was a very vital state for the union or the confederates to have). There were two Crittenden sons that both joined the army on different sides
Another famous "brother against brother" situation was when two opposing Generals during the Civil War were brothers.
Their names were Thomas Leonidas Crittenden and George Bibb Crittenden. Thomas supported the Union and joined its army on September 27, 1861. Soon he was promoted to Major General in July 1862. George supported the Confederacy. First he "resigned from the U.S. Army and joined the Confederate Army as a Colonel; by November 1861 he had been promoted to Major General."