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Numbers Dwindle Of Living Children Of Civil War Veterans


Now we're going to hear from the children of two soldiers.

IRIS JORDAN: My father, Lewis F. Gay, fought in the War Between the States in Company F Fourth Florida Regiment.


That's Iris Jordan, age 92. Now, it's common to meet the child of the veteran. What's astonishing is which war. The American Civil War - her father fought on the Confederate side and was captured by the North.

JORDAN: He was exchanged and went back into service where he was in several battles, the Battle of Atlanta, the Battle of Chickamauga.

MONTAGNE: She spoke to National Geographic News for a story published online last week. They also spoke to Fred Upham, age 93. His father William fought for the Union and was badly wounded in 1861 during the first Battle of Bull Run.

FRED UPHAM: He was a private at the time, just being indoctrinated into the army a short time prior to Bull Run.

INSKEEP: Later on Upham's father, who would go on to serve as Wisconsin's governor, was also captured. After his release he was invited to the White House to meet the president.

UPHAM: Lincoln had known my father had been severely wounded so he'd asked him to take off his tunic so he could examine the wounds in person.

INSKEEP: Marvel of American history, that's a man alive today whose father met Abraham Lincoln.

MONTAGNE: There are fewer than 35 known living children of Civil War veterans. Many were born under circumstances like Iris Jordan's. Her parents, both widowed, met later in life.

JORDAN: They got married in 1919 and when he was at the age of 82, I was born. My mother was 41. I said I was their last mistake.

INSKEEP: For both soldiers, the wounds of war healed.

JORDAN: If he were here today, he would say that the men in the North were just like he was, they were away from home and families and fighting a war, and there was no animosity on his part at all.

UPHAM: He never held any animosity after the war towards the Confederates or the southern people.

MONTAGNE: That's Fred Upham and Iris Jordan, children of the Civil War. This is NPR News.


MONTAGNE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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