View single post by Kentucky_Orphan
 Posted: Mon Jan 21st, 2008 05:35 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 20th, 2006
Posts: 125

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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.


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