The Civil War did not just divide the country. It divided families. Some fought for the South, while others fought for the North. In June 1862, two brothers who had come to America from Scotland found themselves fighting on a South Carolina battlefield.
Fighting For Different Sides
They both had a deep love for their new home, where they lived for a little under twenty years. The only problem was they were fighting against one another.
Alexander and James Campbell were fighting for different sides in the battle. Even though the brothers came to the United States on the same ship, one decided to live in New York, while the other moved down to Charleston, South Carolina, to be a stonemason.
When the war began, the brothers both joined their respective sides wanted to serve their new homeland. Alexander enlisted in New Yorks’s 79th Highlander Infantry Regiment.
James went into the 1st South Carolina Battalion. The brothers kept in constant contact, so they were aware that each had joined their respective military. They even kept in touch during the war.
It was inevitable that Alex and the 79th would make their way down to South Carolina. The Union Army was retaliating against South Carolina’s attack on Fort Sumter the prior year.
Battle of Secessionville
The Union troops were able to capture a Confederate soldier. He let Alexander know that his brother was with the Federal Army. Though, they did not know they were on the battlefield together until after it happened.
“I was astonished to hear from the prisoners that you was colour Bearer of the Regmt that assaulted the Battrey at this point the other day…. I was in the Brest work during the whole engagement doing my Best to Beat you but I hope that You and I will never again meet face to face Bitter enemies on the Battlefield. But if such should be the case You have but to discharge your deauty to Your caus for I can assure you I will strive to discharge my deauty to my country my cause.”Alexander Campbell
The two brothers never faced each other. But the Battle of Secessionville brought them fairly close. Alexander was hurt in the Battle of Chantilly as the Union Army headed back toward the north.
James was captured during the Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863 and went to federal prison for the remainder of the war.