by Melissa

Where does my family get its stubborn streak? This question was definitively answered when I decided to test my research skills with one of my collateral lines. I've always been curious about Laban, the brother of my 4th great-grandfather, who disappeared after the Civil War. In the course of my genealogical research, I discovered several interesting facts about this man, which prompted a desire to locate more in-depth historical records about his experience in the war.

At the age of twenty-one, Laban enlisted with the Confederacy, though his siblings joined the Union. He was injured in the Battle of Greenbrier River (WV) and Sharpsburg (MD), where he lost an arm. Due to the nature of his injury, he resigned, but several letters in his service packet show he continued serving the Confederacy. One particular letter caught my interest as the individual remarked on Laban's strength of character and approved a request for Laban to return to his former place of residence, located in Union territory, and recruit Confederate troops. This letter was signed by Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America.

While in his former home state, Laban was captured and imprisoned at Camp Chase, OH. While being transported to Point Lookout, MD as part of a prisoner exchange, he escaped, but was recaptured and eventually paroled at the end of the war. Instead of returning to his former life and family, he settled in the southeastern region of the United States.

His migration away from his family, his participation in the Confederacy while the rest of his family supported the Union, along with his eventual capture in an area that was his home raises many questions in my mind. Due to these questions, Laban has become my fascinating ancestor because he has made history come alive.