Richmond Virginia St. John's Church 1

Children posed by Matthew Brady’s photographers in Richmond, Va., outside St. John’s Church. Library of Congress photo.

While the three Poore brothers—Francis, John and William—fought for the Confederacy, they had three younger sisters and one younger brother at home.

The records don’t tell us how the war affected the younger children in the family. Because they lived on a farm, their day-to-day lives probably changed little.

But two Union raids into their homeland in southeast Mississippi, the constant movement of troops in the area and young men leaving for military service at least kept them aware of the war and its effect on adults.

The children no doubt heard their parents worry about the fate of the three oldest brothers and shared their anxiety about the future.

Family tradition does tell us how one child reacted to his father going away to war.

Francis’s wife had died giving birth in March 1861 to their son George Washington Poore. So Francis arranged for his parents to care for his infant child as he left for the battlefield.

Family tradition holds that young George hated his father for leaving him for four years to go off to fight in the war. George remained so bitter about his father’s absence during the war that as an adult George changed his surname to Poe, because he “didn’t want to be known as a ‘poor’ man all his life.”

More than likely, Francis’ younger sisters and brother also had feelings about the war that shaped their lives. How they lived and what they did after the war may tell us something of their thoughts about the conflict.

Do your Civil War ancestors include individuals who were children during the war? Did they later record their thoughts and activities during wartime? How did they deal with the war?

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