Real Sons Feed

Children of Civil War veterans

Iris Lee Gay Jordan, 92 (left), and Fred Upham, 93 (right)—two of the few remaining children of veterans of the Civil War—appear as they might have had they lived in the 1860s. The photographs are tintypes, made on a chemical-coated wet plate with a lens manufactured in 1862. 
By David A. Lande

November 10, 2014

How many people alive today can say that their father was a Civil War soldier who shook hands with Abraham Lincoln in the White House? Fred Upham can.

Despite sounding like a tall tale and a mathematical impossibility, it's documented truth. Fred's father, William,was a private in the Union Army's Second Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He was severely wounded at the First Battle of Bull Run, in 1861, and later personally appointed by President Lincoln to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Fred's in exclusive company—the dwindling group of children of soldiers who fought, North against South, 150 years ago.

Fewer than 35 of these remarkable offspring are now on the rolls of heritage groups that keep track of them. They're referred to as "real" sons and daughters and are given a place of honor at the ongoing events commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

Read the complete article at National Geographic

Passing of Real Son Luke Perkins Martin, Jr

Luke Perkins Martin Jr, the son of Union Civil War veteran Luke Perkins Martin, Sr, died on January 25, 2015 at the age of 97 years. Brother Luke was a member of North Carolina Union Volunteers Camp No. 5. 

Luke’s father, Luke Martin, Sr., was born into slavery in 1837 and reportedly swam across three rivers in winter to get to New Bern and join what became the 35th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops (formerly the 1st North Carolina Colored Infantry). Private Martin saw action at the battles of Olustee, Florida and Honey Hill, South Carolina.

The younger Martin lived in the house his father built. He worked as a funeral service assistant for Oscar’s Mortuary, as he had since the business opened. He was also a master brick mason, like his father before him. Martin Jr. was the lead mason in the early 1950s for the restoration of historic Tryon Palace and fifty other historic buildings. He taught vocational classes for military veterans and students in several area schools.

In honor of Brother Martin’s passing, SUVCW Commander-in-Chief Tad Campbell has issued Special Order No. 3, which orders an official period of mourning for thirty days, during which time charters are to be draped and mourning ribbons are to be attached to the membership badge. Only an estimated seven real sons of Civil War Union veterans remain alive today. Click here (pdf) for a list of those eight men.