civil war friendship, soldiers at gettysburg






Civil War soldiers at Gettysburg

Civil War soldiers at Gettysburg

Civil War soldiers at Gettysburg

Civil War Friendship

Union and Confederate Brothers

During the Civil War a number of cases were recorded in which Masons on one side of the war extended kindnesses to those on the other side.

At Vicksburg, two days after the city fell, Masons on both sides got together and held a lodge meeting. Confederate lodge members even assisted in the burial of the captain of one of the Union vessels which had captured the strategic town.

At Jacksonville State University in Alabama, the head of the History Department reported that stories were plentiful about plantation owners displaying Masonic rings or aprons to marauding Yankee troops, who then obligingly left their properties unharmed. He pointed out that in the path of Sherman’s march to the sea, you can find a number of plantation houses still standing where one would have expected to find only charred ruins.

At Gettysburg, Pickett's Charge was an infantry assault ordered by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee against Maj. Gen. George G. Meade's Union positions on Cemetery Ridge. It occurred on July 3, 1863, the last day of that famous battle. After the fateful Charge, a Confederate general lay dying. On his bloody bed, he asked about a fellow Mason who happened to be on the Union side. The Mason, an aide to one of the Union generals, came to him . . . and gave him dying comfort.

In Charleston, South Carolina, Lt. George Dixon . . . a Mason . . . was commander of the Confederate submarine CSS Hunley. When he boarded that little vessel on Feb. 17, 1864, he carried with him a badge from Mobile Lodge No. 40. The Hunley sank the USS Housatonic that night, becoming the first submarine to sink an enemy vessel. But the Hunley was also sunk, and the lodge badge went to the bottom of Charleston Harbor along with its owner. They would stay there for 136 years. The Hunley was finally lifted off the bottom, in August of the year 2000. Three years later the bones of Lt. Dixon and his crew were buried in a Charleston cemetery. Dixon was buried with Masonic rites, which were provided by the modern-day members of his lodge.

To be remembered by an acquaintance for a month is good.

To be remembered by a friend for twenty years is pleasing.

To be remembered by brothers for 136 years . . . is to be a Mason.


This talk was presented by Sanford Holst at Home Lodge No. 721 in California. It was published online at on 29 April 2011. Earlier source was American History by Suite 101, "Masons on Both Sides of Civil War, Fraternal Bond Transcended Enmity Between Blue and Gray" by Gene Owens 2 June 2009. 

If you pass this piece of history on to others, please credit the sources.

Civil War Friends and Soldiers at Gettysburg


How does a secretive society build men who are this generous to their brothers among "the enemy"? The roots of these and other unusual practices in Masonry are deeply explored in the book Sworn in Secret. The Scottish Rite Journal calls this new book, "Thought-provoking, well researched and well written."

Sworn in Secret

is available on Amazon




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The Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial at Gettysburg was crafted by Ron Tunison. It shows the mortally-wounded Confederate Brigadier Gen-eral Lewis Addison Armistead being comforted by Union Captain Henry H. Bingham. Both men were Masons.

Vicksburg during

the Civil War

Lincoln at Gettysburg

CSS Hunley