Thursday, January 31, 2008

Brother Against Brother

The preceding blogs about genealogy on this site got me thinking how little I know about my own family's roots. But several years ago, my huband did a search of his family to try to find an ancestor who'd fought during the American Civil War on the Union side and came up with very interesting information.

It all started about 12 years ago when my family visited Gettysburg, where we met a few Civil War reenactors. My husband was fascinated and set about finding a reenacting group he could join. He toyed with joining his co-worker's Confederate group based in New Jersey, but didn't want to go that far for meetings. He continued his search and found a local Union group, the 28th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment.

One of the requirements for male members of the group was to join the Sons of Union Veterans. Although members didn't have to have an ancestor who actually fought for the Union, it certainly was a perk. I think he got a special ribbon to wear.

My husband started research and found two uncles who'd fought for the Confederacy.

Wrong side. No perks there.

Besides, these Confederate soldiers weren't direct ancestors anyway. Continuing his research, he found Samuel Joseph Macateee, who not only fought for the Union, but was a direct ancestor. Ironically, Samuel was the younger brother of the two uncles who'd fought for the Confederacy.

He was sixteen when the Civil War broke out and living in Maryland with his family. After his older brothers joined the Confederate Army, his parents sent him north to York, Pennsylvania to live with an aunt, to keep him out of the war. Toward the end of the war, he joined the Union Army as part of Hampton's Battery.

So, while the American Civil War was said to have been a war of brother against brother, in my huband's family, it turned out to be the literal truth.


Marlene said...

Very interesting, Susan. It's amazing how that war tore families apart. Glad your hubby was able to locate information about his family.

Susan Macatee said...

LOL! I remember how disappointed he was when he found out about the Confederates.

When he found his direct ancestor fought for the Union, he was so pleased!