Thursday, November 3, 2011

Brother Against Brother at Port Royal

Percival Drayton was born in the South, but remained loyal to the Union when war came. This resulted in a situation that is often referenced in the study of the Civil War - brother against brother. At the Battle of Port Royal, Percival Drayton commanded the Pocahontas. His brother, Thomas Fenwick Drayton, was a Confederate brigadier general and was also present at Port Royal. During the battle, the Pocahontas fired upon Fort Walker, where Thomas was in command.
Percival wrote in a letter dated 30 November 1861 from Port Royal: "To think of my pitching here right into such a nest of my relations, my brother, William Heyward, Tatnall &c it is very hard but I can not exactly see the difference between their fighting against me and I against them except that their cause is as unholy a one as the world has ever
seen and mine just the reverse."

Interpretive marker at Fort Walker
Civil War Letters of Percival Drayton


  1. Great Post, Sarah. I was intrigued by his comment ". . . pitching here right into such a nest of my relations . . ." The reference to "Tatnall" is obviously to J. Tattnall as his brother naval officer, but who was "Wm. Heyward"?? Just curious.

  2. Rob,
    From some preliminary research, it seems that William Heyward was the name of one of Percival's half-brothers. However, I believe that William Heyward was in the North practicing law at the time of the war (or was somewhere along the path to becoming a lawyer) and so it is very unlikely he would have been at Port Royal. My best guess is that perhaps William Heyward is a relative of his step-mother's and the namesake of his half-brother.