It was a time not long after Fort Sumter and The War of Northern Aggression was well under way. The Yankees, as they are still wont to do, had promptly flocked to Hilton Head and Tybee Islands, the barrier islands on opposite sides of the mouth of the Savannah River. The Savannah Folks didn't mind much that the Yankees had stolen the good beaches, for the water was still a bit cool for Southern preferences and, besides, they knew the gnats and mosquitoes would teach the Yankees a lesson they'd never forget. So, the Southerners, as Southerners are wont to do sometimes, just waited.
They didn't have to wait very long before the Yankees on Hilton Head sent out a messenger under a white flag.
It seemed that the Yankees had among them a young fellow who had passed through the Fellow Craft Degree before shipping out. The Yanks were just sitting around slapping gnats when it occurred to one of them that, just maybe, there was a nearby lodge that could test him in the Fellow Craft Degree and raise him to that of a Master Mason.
As luck would have it, there was indeed a lodge in Savannah that would soon be having a Masters Degree.
One morning, not too many days later, a detail of Confederate Cavalry slipped across the Savannah River into South Carolina and traveled through Bluffton to the shore opposite Hilton Head Island.
From there they escorted one Fellow Craft Mason and, I believe, a number of Master Masons of the Northern Persuasion, safely through the Confederate Lines and back through about 35 miles of Confederate defenses to Savannah where the candidate and his witnesses were delivered into the lodge.
The records note that this Brother was indeed proficient in the Fellow Craft Degree and he was raised to the Degree of a Master Mason.
That night another detail of Confederate Cavalry, no doubt Brothers to a man, slipped back across the Savannah River and safely escorted their Brothers back to Hilton Head.
Anyway, I have loved this story since the first time I heard it. It clearly demonstrates that, at the darkest period in our Nation's history, when brothers were killing brothers, Brothers could still be Brothers.
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