This paper must begin with a general summary of Masonic Lodges with a more
detailed look at the tradition of Military or Traveling Lodges. By necessity, the
development of American (and especially Alabama) Freemasonry will be reviewed.
Some effort must be expended in an attempt to understand why the charter members of
Confederate Lodge were Masons and why they desired to established the first Alabama
Military Masonic Lodge. Who were these men? What was their station in life before the
activation of the militia?
The Masonic literature is filled with stories of fraternal courtesies extended between
enemies. Some are well documented, like the burial of a Union Naval officer at
Francesville, Louisiana, or the kindness extended to Confederate Brigadier General
Lewis Armistead as he was dying on the battlefield at Gettysburg. Other stories lack
documentation but speak of the value of brotherhood on the field of battle or among
prisoners. These stories, while of interest to the Masonic and general public, will not be a
major focus of this paper. However, should such human interest accounts be discovered,
they will be included as another view of the impact of Masonic values during war.
Masonic writers suggest that men joined a military Masonic lodge for a variety of
reasons. Most frequently, membership was thought to maintain a connection with the
home front. Other factors included the hope of fraternal assistance in battle and the
possibility of acts of kindness if a Masonic soldier became a prisoner of war or a hospital
patient. These benefits, both perceived and real, are extremely difficult to measure. This
is particularly so when the events occurred nearly one hundred and fifty years ago. It has
been suggested that Masonic membership has the possibility to enhance a civilian career.