The Civil War was both a tragedy and an opportunity for growth for a nation which was then only 85 years old. Fought from 1861 to 1865, it was a brutal conflict which showed the best and the worst of the American people. Those of each side, from their own culture and times, were equally convinced that their cause was correct.
Along with hundreds of thousands of other young men, Harned family fathers, brothers and sons took up arms in the War. Wives, sisters and daughters supported their side by working as nurses, raising crops, protecting their children, and speaking out publicly in support of their cause. Most were patriotic for their own side to a fault, and in exercising their beliefs, fought a war against their own. They fought against cousins, and even brothers, in the same battles and possibly face to face in the same fields. Many never came home.
Most of the descendants of Jonathan Harned (d: 1813) still lived in Kentucky when the Civil War began. As a Border State, family members in Kentucky split between both sides of the conflict. Kentucky Harneds can be found on the rosters of both armies. One group of soldiers, the 1st Kentucky Brigade (comprised of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 9th Kentucky Infantry), supported a cause even their own state denied, and returned home alienated from their own State.
Kentucky, however, soon removed the indictments against all residents who had served the South, and many became important public figures. Over time the 1st Kentucky Brigade became known as the Orphan Brigade. Today E. Porter Harned of Louisville, whose grandfather Henry Harned fought with the 6th KY, functions as Commander of the Orphan Brigade Kinfolk, keeping alive the memory and spirit of those who served with the unit. (*See Below)
Out of the American Civil War came immense suffering for many, but as Shelby Foote, noted Southern historian has stated, prior to the war we referred to our country as "these united states", and after the war as "The United States". A subtle, but important shift in attitude which may have been necessary to maintain the survival of our Country.
We have identified many family members who fought for both sides of the conflict. They are shown on the Union and Confederacy pages along with others who we have found, but remain unidentified. If you can identify any of those or add new combatants, please let us know.
*For those who would like to read more about Kentucky's Orphan Brigade, the book "The Orphan Brigade" by William C. Davis, provides an enjoyable and often humorous look at the exploits, comaraderie, and dilemma of this unit.