President Abraham Lincoln wasn’t the only Abraham Lincoln involved in the Civil War. The Confederates had their own Lincoln, Private Abraham B. Lincoln of Company F in the 1st Virginia Cavalry. What’s even stranger is that the two Lincolns were related.
According to an article in The Pennsylvania-German magazine, both President Abraham Lincoln and Private Abraham B. Lincoln were the great-grandsons of John Lincoln of Pennsylvania, which makes them second cousins.
While serving as a Congressman in 1848, the future President Abraham Lincoln learned of the possible connection to the Lincoln family in Virginia and wrote to Private Abraham B. Lincoln’s father, David Lincoln, asking about any family connection. David Lincoln, a farmer and inn-keeper in Lacey Spring, replied with his family history, to which Congressman Lincoln wrote back:
“Last evening I was much gratified by receiving and reading your letter of the 30th of March. There is no longer any doubt that your uncle Abraham and my grandfather was the same man…I think my father has told me that grandfather had four brothers, Isaac, Jacob, John, and Thomas. Is that correct? And which of them is your father? Are any of them alive?”
David Lincoln was, in fact, the son of Jacob Lincoln, but Jacob had passed away in 1822. As Private Abraham B. Lincoln, who was born in 1822, was 26 years old at the time Congressman Lincoln sent the letter, it is almost certain the two Abraham Lincoln’s knew about each other, although it is not known if they ever had any contact.
When the Civil War broke out in the 1860s, Private Abraham B. Lincoln found himself fighting in the Confederate army, but eventually deserted in 1864. Desertion among Confederate soldiers became common as the war raged on and food, clothing and pay for the soldiers dwindled. According to the book “Desertion During the Civil War,” Confederate deserters almost always returned to their communities after deserting, so it is likely that Lincoln returned to his wife and five children in Virginia.
Near the end of his life, in 1903, Private Abraham B. Lincoln gave a series of interviews with local Virginia newspapers, identifying himself as the late president’s cousin. Two years later, he passed away at the age of 83, and was buried at Lacey Spring Cemetery next to his wife, Mary E. Hughes.
The Lincoln Family Tree:
Mordecai Lincoln (born 1686 in Hingham, Mass)
John Lincoln (born 1711)
Abraham Lincoln (born 1744) Jacob Lincoln (born 1751)
Thomas Lincoln (born 1778) David Lincoln (born 1781)
President Abraham Lincoln (born 1809) Private Abraham Lincoln (born 1822)
The Times-Dispatch; February 12 1903
The Pennsylvania-German; Is It Lincoln or Linkhorn?; Volume 11; Philip Columbus Croll; Henry Addison Schuler; Howard Wiegner Kriebel; 1910
“The Lincolns In Virginia”; John Walter Wayland; 1946
“Abraham Lincoln, A History”, Volume 10; John George Nicolay, John Hay; 2009
“The Civil War: Strange and Fascinating Facts”; Burke Davis; 1960
“Desertion During the Civil War”; Peter Smith; 1966