The Devereuxs of Alexandria, Virginia were moderate people. The eldest son seemed the most moderate of all.
Claude Devereux wanted no part of secession. None of his family wanted Virginia to leave the Union. This family of bankers owned no slaves and believed slavery to be an institution to be rid of. The Devereux wanted to be left alone in their private world.
Nevertheless, they found Virginia's decision to secede compelling and the Lincoln Administration's decision to "suppress rebellion" in the South to be unacceptable.
Family separation and exile from their home had been the inevitable result. Some family members sided with the Union, but the overwhelming majority "went South" into the 17th Virginia Infantry, the Alexandria Regiment.
In the third year of the war, the crushing forces of greater manpower, the naval blockade and the world's largest industrial base were steadily driving the Confederacy to its knees.
Desperate times demand desperate measures. In such times who could be better placed for action against disaster than a family of merchant bankers?
In that year of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Vicksburg, something had to "be done". Some gateway leading out of the maze had to be found.