Image of Levi (left) and Henry Walker (right) shortly after they joined the Confederate army in 1861. The photo on the right was taken in 1887 and is a recreation of the image on the left. Notice how both brothers were injured on the same leg and had amputations done below the knee. Image credit:  Jarrow, Gail. Blood and Germs: The Civil War Battle Against Wounds and Disease, pg 136.

The Civil War has been referred to as “The Brother’s War” because siblings fought alongside and against their own flesh and blood. Having a family member there beside them would have been a double edged sword. On one hand they were probably comforted knowing that a loved one was closeby, but on the other hand, they had to worry about the well-being of their sibling along with worrying for their own lives.

Levi and Henry Walker were just nineteen and twenty-four years old when they enlisted in the Confederate Army on 20 May, 1861. The pair left their parents and three younger siblings behind in Mecklenburg, North Carolina and joined Company B13 Regiment NC troops (“The Stories”). Prior to the war, Levi and Henry worked in a woolen mill with their father. The boys fought together through the first few years of the war and were seasoned veterans when they arrived in Gettysburg on 1 July, 1863. On that day, Levi was shot in his left leg while serving as flag bearer (Boardman). He was transported to a nearby field hospital where his leg was amputated the following day. Henry participated in the Confederate retreat from town and the hospital was captured by Union forces. Levi was taken prisoner and held for four months before being released in a prisoner exchange that winter (Boardman). 

Two weeks after his brother was injured, Henry was also shot in his left leg while in Hagerstown, Maryland. He was transported to a nearby hospital and his leg was also amputated below the knee (Boardman). Coincidentally, Union forces also took him as a prisoner for ten months. 

After the war, both brothers returned home and went on to lead fruitful lives. Henry married Catherine E Berryhill and obtained a medical degree from New York Medical College (“The Stories”). He not only managed his medical practice, but also operated a drug and merchandise store. Catherine and Henry birthed seven children, five of which survived to adulthood. Henry passed away at the ripe age of ninety-two. 

Levi also married shortly after his return from war. He wed Lenora Montomery and became a merchant and store owner (“The Stories”). On his wedding day, Levi apparently broke his cork prosthetic leg and was worried that he would not be able to stand beside his bride. Being a good brother, Henry offered Levi his leg to wear during the ceremony (Boardman). Levi Walker passed away at the age of ninety-three. Surely, what the men experienced during those years at war together cemented a bond that followed them through all the days of their lives.

I have been loving all topics related to the Civil War lately. Please check out my other posts HERE.

Until Next Time

N.F. 

Sources:

–  Boardman, Sue & Elle Lamboy. “The Brother’s War at Gettysburg.” Celebrate Gettysburg. 25 february, 2017. Accessed 27 July, 2021. celebrate gettysburg.com/the-brothers-war-at-gettysburg/.

–  Jarrow, Gail. Blood and Germs: The Civil War Battle Against Wounds and Disease. Calkins Creek: NY, 2020. Print.

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