Iris Lee Gay Jordan Fred Upham
I have mentioned my current book project only once in my blog. The book will tell the story of my great great grandfather’s role in the Civil War based upon his diary.
A friend notified me of an article National Geographic posted on their site, Veterans Day, November 11, 2014–Children of Civil War Veterans Still Walk Among Us, 150 Years After the War: To their living sons and daughters, the soldiers in blue and gray are flesh and blood, not distant figures in history books. Here you can read the stories of sons and daughters of Union and Confederate soldiers who were born between 1910 and the 1920s, and are 90+ years old in 2014.
They have credible stories to tell heard directly from their soldier-fathers’ first hand experiences in the war. There were atrocities which happened in the war which make our blood run cold, but these tales warm us with the candor and love of human experience. A Union son, Fred Upham and a Confederate daughter, Iris Lee Gay Jordan are the war children most quoted in this article (pictured above). Both attest their fathers had no ill feelings for the other side.
Each of their fathers was captured at separate battles in 1861. William Upham went to Libby Prison in Richmond, VA, and Lewis F. Gay was incarcerated at Fort Delaware near Wilmington. Both were released the following year during prisoner exchanges. The children maintain their fathers held no bitterness to their captors and were not mistreated. We know those conditions changed later in the war. The soldiers on both sides recognized they were in the same situation–defending their ideological positions while being separated from their families with no bitterness towards the opposing side. Though I have no formal proof, I feel my Great Great Grandfather Ethel Rogers also held no ill feelings toward his “enemy.” He loved his enemy. Ethel was a devout Christian. Surely he saw both sides as children of God.
Another child, Clifford Hamm, son of Confederate John Hamm, expressed his father’s attitude a bit differently: “‘My father would never acknowledge the South was defeated. He used the word ‘overcome.’” I, a great great granddaughter of a Union soldier like that word also! That word does describe how the war ended–lack of numbers, money, and supplies caused the South to be overcome.
Garland, the son of Union soldier Charles Parker Poole, says, “…the main reason he wanted to fight was that he didn’t want to see the nation divided, and because he was against slavery.” I feel those exact reasons caused my great great grandfather, Ethel Rogers, to leave his young family and join the war cause.