Baptists and the American Civil War: March 14, 1861

The middle of the nineteenth century witnessed many white, lower social class southern Baptist families relocating as the southern frontier expanded. Among such families was that of Robert McMinn, born June 8, 1799 in Buncombe County, North Carolina, and married to Sara Kuykendall in 1820. Following a stint in Georgia, the couple returned to North Carolina by 1836, at which time Robert and Sara became members of Crab Creek Baptist Church in Hendersonville. By 1850, they were living and farming in Fayette County, Alabama, parents of nine children. True to form, however, they eventually move on, and by 1861 are living in Kerrville, Texas.

Far from his North Carolina family roots, today the 61-year old Robert McMinn musters into the service of the Confederate States of America, a member of Captain William Banta’s Company of Minute Men. Robert survives the war and dies in 1870, but two of his sons are not so fortunate.

Sons John, Francis, and Valentine all enroll in the Confederate Army within a year. Valentine dies of pneumonia on February 19, 1862 in Tennessee, while Francis dies June 14, 1862 of measles in Texas.

The McMinn family story is repeated hundreds of thousands of times North and South during the war, as fathers and sons march off to fight on distant battlefields. Communication with family members back home is sporadic, death on the battlefield and from raging diseases in the camps is common, and burial is often far from home and overshadowed by the immensity of the conflict at large. Torn apart by war and eternally separated by death, families now rendered apart in the years following the war are forced to carry on as best as they can.

Source: United Daughters of the Confederacy (link)