North / South Brothers

Artist: Mike Tesch
Writer: Richard Pels


There were 2 brothers from Scotland. In the 1850’s, James Campbell settled in Charleston, SC, and Alexander Campbell settled in New York. Sadly, it’s not a setup for a joke, but for a particularly bloody battle during the Civil War. 

The two brothers wound up fighting against each other’s forces at Secessionville, South Carolina in 1862. The war is often described as fratricidal, and on that day it almost became so, literally. 

In early June, 1862, Alex learned from a captured Confederate soldier that his brother’s company was nearby and wrote to his wife, “We are not far from each other now… this is a war that there never was the like of before Brother against Brother.” 

It was fortunate their militia companies didn’t directly face each other in battle that day because, according to the brothers, if their paths had crossed, their loyalties to flag and country would have outweighed bonds of blood and family.  

The Confederates won the battle of Secessionville. A few days later, James, after dispatching two Union soldiers with a log having used up his ammunition, was captured and incarcerated for the duration. 

Once the war was over the two brothers effortlessly became fast friends again. Until 1907 when James died, nothing, including flags, ever came between them again.