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Showing posts from September, 2009

Tracing my Civil War forbears

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Published in The Courier-Journal, September 13, 2009

Next month, I plan to travel to Perryville, Ky., where men in blues and grays will fight Kentucky's biggest Civil War battle, 146 years after the original.

I never had more than a passing interest in the War Between The States. But then a few years ago I learned that my family tree was kind of like Kentucky — it had soldiers and sentiments on both sides of the conflict.

Neither of my ancestors fought at Perryville, but their Civil War experience was much like many of those who did. One lost his home and his brother, the other, lost his life.

Pvt. Samuel Chase Woodfin, my father's great-grandfather, enlisted in the Confederate Army in Tennessee in 1862 and fought the Yankees for almost three years.

His unit served under Braxton Bragg, the general who invaded Kentucky, and briefly under John C. Breckinridge, the Kentuckian who was vice president before the war and one of Lincoln's opponents in the 1860 election. And Woodfin w…