There are a tremendous amount of stories related to Masonry and the Civil War. I was wondering if any researchers can shed light on the following:
I have attended Civil War reenactments and encountered soldiers of both sides (Confederate and Union) wearing Masonic emblems on their uniforms. According to several reenactors, who have talked to me about Masonic tradition during the War, informed me me that this practice was fairly common but completely unauthorized. apparently it was usually overlooked by the officers and NCOs, and generally not addressed. I am curious if General Lewis Armistead at Gettysburg had Masonic emblems on his uniform, because of the story related to about the Surgeon, who refused to leave the General's side after he discovered that the General was also a Mason.
Another story in particular interests me. I have never seen it in writing, but It has been reported to me by Masons, that The Masonic Lodge in Cave City (now Sharp County then Lawrence County)was holding Lodge when Union soldiers (Calvary out of Batesville) while on patrol spotted a large number of horses tied up at a building. The patrol went in to identify who the individuals were. They encountered the Tyler at the door armed with a sword, who attempted to perform the duties of his office and prevent the patrol from entering into the open lodge. They subdued the Tyler and burst into the lodge. They took all the records, the Masonic Bible, jewels and implements with them. According to the verbal history relayed to me, one of the high ranking officers in Batesville was himself a Mason, and ordered that the commander of the unit whose patrol to return all the Masonic records, jewels, implements and Bible with his most sincere apologies. According to oral tradtion, One of the Stations was damaged by a saber during the incident. The only information that I have related to this story has been through oral history. I have not read or seen any official records, reports or mention of the Cave City Lodge incident. Has anyone seen any mention of this story?
Another story/incident was in regards to a Confederate Officer who was captured, and was to be sent to Johnson's Island as a Prisoner of War. He asked the Commander of the Unit who captured him, if it would be possible if the Commanding Officer would, based on his word as a Mason, to allow him to return home take care of his family affairs becuase he was afraid he would die as a prisioner of war. according to the Story, not only did the Union Commander, give him safe passage and permission to return home, he gave the Confederate officer money from his own pocket as well to enable the confederate to travel home. According to the story the officer returned home, reunited shortly with his family and then on the appointed day, place and time reported back and was a prisoner of war until the end of the War.