FREEMASONRY: American Civil War
FREEMASONRY: American Civil War

During the American Civil War, the Freemasons played a significant role in shaping the conduct of the conflict. As a fraternal organization, the Freemasons were deeply committed to the principles of brotherhood, charity, and mutual support. These values were especially relevant during the war, as soldiers on both sides struggled to cope with the physical and emotional toll of combat.

Despite the fact that Freemasons were often fighting on opposite sides of the conflict, they still found ways to conduct themselves towards each other with kindness and compassion. Many notable acts of kindness were carried out by Freemasons during the war, demonstrating the enduring power of brotherhood even in the midst of the most bitter conflicts.

One notable example of this is the story of Sergeant John McElroy, a Union soldier who was captured by Confederate forces during the Battle of Gettysburg. McElroy was taken to Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia, where he was held captive for several months. While there, he was surprised to discover that many of the guards were also Freemasons. Despite the fact that they were on opposite sides of the war, the guards treated McElroy with respect and kindness, even going so far as to provide him with extra food and blankets.

Another example of Freemason kindness during the Civil War comes from the story of Private George T. Robinson, a Confederate soldier who was wounded and left for dead on the battlefield at Antietam. Robinson was found by Union soldiers, who took him to a field hospital and tended to his wounds. While there, he was visited by a Union officer who recognized Robinson as a fellow Freemason. The officer arranged for Robinson to be given extra care and attention, ensuring that he received the best possible medical treatment.

Perhaps the most well-known example of Freemason kindness during the Civil War comes from the story of General Albert Pike. Pike was a prominent Freemason who had been initiated into the fraternity in Arkansas in the 1850s. During the war, he served as a general in the Confederate Army and was responsible for overseeing the Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. Despite his position as a military leader, Pike was known for his kindness and compassion towards his fellow Masons, regardless of which side they were fighting on.

One story about Pike that has become legendary among Freemasons involves his interactions with a Union soldier named Ezra A. Cook. Cook was a fellow Mason who had been captured by Confederate forces and was being held in a prison camp in Arkansas. When Pike learned of Cook’s presence in the camp, he immediately went to visit him. The two men spent several hours together, discussing their shared ideals of brotherhood and charity. Pike also provided Cook with food and other necessities, even though he was technically an enemy combatant.

These stories demonstrate the enduring power of Freemason brotherhood and the kindness that can be shown even in the midst of the most bitter conflicts. Despite the fact that the Freemasons were fighting on opposite sides of the war, they still found ways to support and care for each other, demonstrating that the bonds of fraternity can transcend even the most divisive of circumstances.