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 Posted: Mon Jan 21st, 2008 11:39 am
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Roger
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I've noticed a lot of people and not just on this forum champion the causes of the side their ancestors fought on. They are often and quite rightly in my opinion, proud of their ancestors. I too am proud of the service of my own family in Great Britain. 

But in doing your research you  discovered your ancestor was a deserter, spy for the other side, or something like that would it change your whole attitude?

Roger 



 Posted: Mon Jan 21st, 2008 01:12 pm
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Michael C. Hardy
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Roger:

So far, all of my ancestors from that time period have been Confederate - 37th AL, 58th AL, 7th AL Cav., 48th TN, and 7th Batt. Conf. Cav. Being that my mom’s family is from Southern Appalachia, I’ve always expected to find deserters, or Federal soldiers. But to date, I have not. I guess if I were to throw cousins into the mix, then I would come out with more chances. In 1860, I have family in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. One of my ancestors in the 37th AL joins the 11th FL after the Vicksburg surrender.

My wife’s family, who is also from Southern Appalachia, has all Federal ancestors save one, a great-great-great uncle in the 21st Virginia Cav.

If I found an ancestor on the other side, I would be as proud of him as I am the ones on the Confederate side. Maybe it would give me yet another angle to research and write about.

It is amazing how some people are so caught up in their past and at times are in denial about ancestors who served on the other side. A couple of years ago I was working at one of our local museums and had a women come in, excited about one of her ancestors in the 3rd North Carolina. Well, the only 3rd North Carolina out of the mountains was the 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry - US. When I told the lady this, and pulled out a book with his named on the roster, she said that that could not be her ancestor, and walked off.

Regards,
Michael
http://www.michaelchardy.com



 Posted: Mon Jan 21st, 2008 01:35 pm
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Roger
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Thanks for the interesting reply Michael.

Your example of the lady whose ancestor was in the 3rd NC Mtd. Inf. is the sort of thing I was thinking of.

Roger



 Posted: Mon Jan 21st, 2008 04:27 pm
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Fuller
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My ancestors were all Union (that I have found).  I naturally gravitate to the history of their regiments and the battles they were involved with and I am extremely proud of their service.  What I really enjoy doing is in turn, researching the Confederate regiments that were there at the same battles to get the whole perspective of things.  It would be very unwise of me to only limit myself to one side of things.

Every family has skeletons in their closet.  I am taking a course on searching out your ancestors at the moment.  The last class was about digging through the biased oral and written histories your family might have on relatives.  Stories could have changed over the years to blur out certain events.  No one wants stories about deserters in their family history.  My feeling is that if I was to find that out, I would wonder what brought that person to that point in their life.  How could I possibly judge? ...after all...my offspring will be studying my life history as well :shock:



 Posted: Mon Jan 21st, 2008 04:34 pm
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Roger
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Fuller wrote:
  My feeling is that if I was to find that out, I would wonder what brought that person to that point in their life.  How could I possibly judge? ...after all...my offspring will be studying my life history as well :shock:


That's my feeling too. I think there maybe some "flag wavers" who would find it more difficult to come to terms with.

Roger 



 Posted: Mon Jan 21st, 2008 04:35 pm
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Kentucky_Orphan
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 I have ancestors who served faithfully on both sides during the war. I have no small amount of pride in this fact, and enjoy learning about their unit histories.

Having said that, there is at least one character in my past who might fit into your "undesirable" category, and to be honest I enjoyed hearing  family stories about him. Among other outright criminal activities, he would steal horses from one side (Confederate or Federal), sell them to the other side, and steal them again to sell back to the side he originally stole them from. After all, war is war, but business IS business.

Now, if I had a family member engaging in such shameless activities in the present I would no doubt be quite upset (to put it mildly). A century and a half after the fact, though, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning tales of his exploits.

Pretty much everyone in my region of the country who had ancestors at the time of the Civil War had them on both sides. Though my area is most definitely southern in its sympathies (cheers for Dixie from spectators at reenactments, etc.), the partisan feelings about ancestors is basically non-existent.

An example of the good natured rivalry I can take from my own time reenacting in this area. I was at a small event in its first year, and like so many events in this area we were short on Federal infantry. I was one of those that voluntered to switch sides, and so was portraying a Federal infantryman. Well, here I was fighting in the Federal skirmish line-two skirmish lines of about 20 men each was the best we can manage because of the small numbers-pulling a cartridge from my cartridge box and preparing to tear the top off, and I let slip "Damned Yankee *expletive deleted*". At the exact same instant that I realized what I had said the whole skirmish line began to laugh. The laughter didn't just die away either, it just kept building and building. Five minutes after I had made the remark guys were laughing so hard that our rate of fire began to actually slow.

Hours later, after the event was over, guys were still laughing, Federal and Confederate, now that the story had made its way around camp. If feelings were still burning hot about sides taken during the war, I'm sure there would have been no laughing going on that day.

 



 Posted: Mon Jan 21st, 2008 05:17 pm
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Roger
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Great story and I've actually began to realise I've asked the question of the wrong people. People who've studied their history are bound to be a bit more objective but interesting replies nevertheless.

I have worked with a lot of Scots who often jump at the chance to have a little dig at the English. I often smile to myself and wonder how they would react to the knowledge one of their ancestors was one of the many Scots in the English army at Culloden:D



 Posted: Mon Jan 21st, 2008 05:17 pm
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Roger
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Whoops Double post

Last edited on Mon Jan 21st, 2008 05:19 pm by Roger



 Posted: Tue Jan 22nd, 2008 02:18 am
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Doc C
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Have over 200 ancestors (direct and indirect) thus far who fought on both sides. Had ones who were slave owners and those who participated in the underground railroad. Had one, that I'm aware of, who was a deserter (CSA) and one who furnished a substitute (Union). Doesn't change my attitude what so ever. IT'S ALL HISTORY TO ME.

Doc C



 Posted: Tue Jan 22nd, 2008 03:31 am
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PvtClewell
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Wow. A whole company of Doc C's. :D



 Posted: Tue Jan 22nd, 2008 05:57 am
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Roger
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Doc C wrote:  Doesn't change my attitude what so ever. IT'S ALL HISTORY TO ME.

Doc C


Thank you Doc. That confirmed my belief I posed to the question to the wrong people:)

Roger

 



 Posted: Tue Jan 22nd, 2008 11:39 pm
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Johan Steele
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I'm sitting at 8 verified ancestors IIRC. To me it doesn't really matter, never really did. When I was stationed in SC I met a gal in Columbia doing research of her own who turned me onto the original letters & diaries of the men. I've never looked back from the road those first letters started me on. I owe her an immense amount of gratitude.

I've found letters & diaries from the Brigades & Regiments of my ancestors but never of them. I've read accounts from the men who were shooting at them as well. What sticks w/ me is that they were men not so different than I; so many of the same wants, needs and emotions of a GI from my generation. Not so different at all; a I've been told that kind of thing really isn't all that different whether in 1860, 1944 or 1970.

I spent a bit of time reading the letters of some men of the 4th Alabama & Texas Rangers in particular. What shines about them all is that they were fighting men of the highest order. Men of flesh and blood and of an iron conviction ( I wish I knew where that came from!)

Roger, my first ancestor to the US was a Hessian Jaeger who surrendered to some crazy general who crossed the river in the middle of winter. Knowing the repuation the Hessians had my ancestor was probably a real SOB. Washington knew the easiest way to beat the Hessians, mug them when they're drunk. I figure that particular Hessian said if you can't beat em... oh yeah and that sweet little American lady down the way is single. ;)



 Posted: Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 12:19 am
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ole
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Wish I could join your discussion gentlemen. Unless my ggfather had some distant cousins who came earlier and signed up, I have no family connection with civil war -- except for a nephew and a cousin. Sigh.

ole



 Posted: Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 01:12 am
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BigPowell
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Well, I had always thought that my family (Father's side, Mom's family hadn't come to the States yet) were all rebels, all "good southern men". Then recently while talking to my great-aunt, she revealed that one branch of the family had maintained a stop on the Underground Railway in Kentucky.

Far from upsetting my usual fragile grasp of reality, I readily embraced the concept, and thought how incredibly cool that was. I had always been full of pride for the ancestors that I had been aware of (mainly Tennessee cavalrymen, for the most part), and the thought of more of my ancestors wagging part of the secret War in the shadows actually gave me more pride.  



 Posted: Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 01:48 am
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ole
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Am glad to hear that, BigPowell. You had ancestors with convictions and a commitment to abide by them. (That sounds an awful lot like Al Queda, doesn't it?) Nevermind. We can at least appreciate that fighting for a conviction is, at least, worthy of a measure of respect. And even John Brown is due some acknowledgement. And Quantrill, and Bloody Bill, and Lane and Jennison.

Wrong or right, I like Grant's comment (paraphrased very loosely): Never have so many fought so valiantly for a cause that was so wrong.

They had a belief, and they stepped up to the mark when it came time to do so. Their courage and voluntary sacrifice is due our honor.

ole



 Posted: Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 07:13 am
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susansweet
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My parents never knew anything about their ancestors that fought in the Civil War.  My mother's family was from the south , My father's family from the north.  Both families go back to prerevolutionary days.

I have since I got interested in the Civil War found I have Union soldiers on my father's side and of course Confederates on my mother's side.  The interesting thing is so far as I can find so far all the soldiers were in Tennessee or Mississippi during the war.

I have a southern cousin who stills owns the Confederate soldier's farm almost 700 acres and yes he raised cotton.  Northern Mississippi just below Memphis. 

I have learned more and more about my family though this search for soldiers.  I am proud of all of them.

Susan



 Posted: Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 07:27 am
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Roger
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Interesting stuff, I'm enjoying reading these. Thanks for posting.

Roger



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 Posted: Thu Jan 24th, 2008 04:33 am
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kj3553
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It wasn't until I was in my early 40s that I learned I had a Civil War veteran for an ancestor, and the way I learned was, to me at least, a bit unusual.

I had recently gotten involved in our local Civil War Roundtable when I got a phone call from a total stranger. He introduced himself, explained that he had been referred to me by someone we both knew. To make a long story short (I hope), this person was told I was interested in stories about soldiers from NW Ohio, my own neck of the woods. He told me about some diaries that were being microfilmed.

We had a nice conversation, and it was when he started telling me the details that my interest really got piqued. He told me that the name of the soldier in question was C. A. Hibbard, Co I of the 67th OVI, from Tedrow (a small village) in Fulton County, Ohio.

Hmm...I thought, my dad's mother was a Hibbard, and as I remembered, she was from Fulton County. I wondered if there was a connection. Unfortunately, my dad had been dead for several years by this time, so I had no one to ask.

So, I wrote down the pertinent info and the next day, made a few phone calls to the Fulton County Court House (the next county over from me, so not really all that far away). It turned out that C. A. Hibbard of Tedrow was Charles Ambrose Hibbard, the grandfather of my paternal grandmother -- or, my 2nd great grandfather. So, I went from knowing next to nothing about my dad's ancestors to suddenly realizing I had a Civil War vet in the family!

That's was 12 years ago, and turned out to be the bug that got me interested in genealogy. I got some how-to books, made phone calls, bugged the heck out of the folks at the local history/genealogy department of the library, and taught myself how to research family history.

Since then I've discovered not only do I have a direct CW ancestor, but a War of 1812 vet, and 5 5th-great-grandfathers who fought for the patriot side during the Revolutionary War. Wow! Has this been a wonderful trip through history!!

Oh...and sorry if I've bored you all to death!

 
But in doing your research you  discovered your ancestor was a deserter, spy for the other side, or something like that would it change your whole attitude

Actually, we discovered my brother-in-law's 2nd great grandfather was a deserter -- twice! No, it hasn't really changed any of our attitudes. We only wish we knew why, but suspect it may have had a lot to do with prefering to be home taking care of the wife and kids.

Last edited on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 04:36 am by kj3553



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