Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
Iconic, superb imagery encompassing the ideal by way of Patriotic Womanhood stood in for all that was ' noble ', the best we had, during the war. It turned up in several wars. You can't help but feel she's a composite. Mrs. Sarah Barker Brandon took her turn, sitting for the artist. Look harder.
The story varies. Papers having discovered and rediscovered Mrs. Sarah Barker Brandon's story over decades, she became the Paul Bunyon of Civil War mothers- heck all mothers, her dead husband ( mercifully deceased we feel, after she divorced him when he was in his late 90's. She was commonly felt to have killed him by this inhumane act. But so would have a good sneeze. ) may stand in for Blue, since he never gets to speak.
Age 16, married a widower, Mexican war veteran Charles Brandon, with 20 children- two from a first marriage added to the 18 which doubtless had something to do with Fannie's inability to keep up with life.
Widow! 114 Years Old! 33 Sons! 16 Soldiers, Union And Confederate! 20 Feet Tall! ( I just made that up ) She wasn't 114, only 6 feet tall and her sixteen sons seem to have enlisted in the Union Army although she may be hiding a few Confederates. She really did raise 33. She had one eye. Sarah told a paper a son shot it out with an arrow so another paper reporting her brother did it, when she was a child sure made that up.
Miraculously, out of 16 sons who served through that war, she had to mourn one. That's enough- no ' only '. Peter, her stepson, fell at Shiloh.
All hers, her job. Loosing Peter, one of them, her grief. She speaks more of him in other interviews- for brevity, an idea how many children shared one mother's love is in order.
There's a report her photo, with honors is somewhere in a National Gallery, in Washington. Maybe? Her name is nowhere in LoC and there are understandably so many Brandons in National Archives you cannot get through them. 33 kids? There's a gallery somewhere with her name on it.
This is no mere photo of an aging woman- she's the 6 foot tall backbone of America's History.
You get the idea some men hoarded children. Or really liked women. In a day remarkable for large families, by the time Charles Brandon had buried two wives he was responsible for 20 sons. Make no mistake, Charles was the Real Deal too. A Mexican War vet, he pioneered West Virginia woods- Disney should be so lucky, not to mention Michenor, drawing from life a portrait of these hearty, huge, life-lapping men who carved a living from American wilderness. I have no ability to draw a personal portrait save the ability to understand who these people were, kinda.
He was a survivor- already a remarkable piece of our nation's History when crossing generations to marry his third wife.
From one of quite a few takes on Sarah Barker Brandon, picked an 1887 newspaper account. Later papers became less and less accurate, names were wrong, children were places all over the place and Sarah's eye perished in various ways. This one seemed the most earnest, least sensational and best able to keep Sarah Barker Brandon bookmarked in Time, a little.
You see how she remembers Peter's death at Shiloh, the date, what happened that day- where her boys were fighting during the war, who was where even if regiments cannot be recalled. I found a list of who was where but like Sarah's better. Note one vet of two wars, several POW's and her wonderful recall despite ' two Johns and two Charles '. Love her.
This was 1887 and as far as I trust for newspaper accounts. Later, Charles became ' Fred ' ( ? ), she was 114 then thrown under a bus for being the one to lie ( she did not ) and more daughters then the eldest two appeared I can't find. Maybe they were around ( you would hope ) but she did not mention them.
Did a thread on mothers- and fathers, who lost 7 of 7 sons- when yes, 1 or 5 was awful. It didn't matter. Dual purpose, recognizing Sarah Barker Brandon, her 16 soldiers and herself, giving the only thing they knew to give- so simple, because that is how simply they viewed this country. No Find A Grave or ' she died in.... ". She just was, Once Upon A Time, here in America.