It took 159 years to publish it, but the story of the Civil War fight between our great-great uncles Benjamin Wesley Maddox (1835-1913) and Joseph Jefferson Maddox (1840-1905) finally appears in the Civil War Monitor. As the story goes, one Maddox shot the other’s horse out from under him – twice – in the heat of a battle during Morgan’s Great Raid. It took years to untangle the reality of the fight – a skirmish at Bashan Church, Ohio, on July 19, 1863.

Beyond the fight itself, the story describes the political, familial, religious, media, and martial forces that compelled the Maddox brothers to enlist on opposite sides of the war, and reconsiders the moralism normally assigned to Civil War enlistment decisions. It offers lessons that affect us all.