Letters to the Editor

Irene Roberts Smith: Peaceful at home

Regarding the May 19 news article “A Civil War re-enactor walks ‘home’ ”: My family, wheat farmers in southern Illinois, were staunch abolitionists. My ancestor, Luther Roberts, fought on the Union side of the Civil War with all nine of his sons. Two came back, Luther and his youngest son, Samuel, my great-grandfather. They were released from Andersonville Prison at the end of the war and walked home to Illinois. It took them eight months, but they made it, thanks to the kindnesses of many strangers.

When I settled in Sanford, 10 years ago, I was astounded that plans were being made to celebrate the 150th anniversary of this conflict. I learned as a child to regard the war as a profound national tragedy. We mourned; we did not romanticize.

My next-door neighbor explained it this way: “We may have lost the war, but we sure gave them Yankees what for!” I frequently imagine Washington Duke walking south while Luther and Samuel trudged slowly and painfully north.

Going home is probably the only good thing about any war.

Irene Roberts Smith