Francis Winslow hailed from the North and his wife and children from the South. When the war came he had difficult choices to make—and they ultimately cost him his life.
Navy Lt. Francis Winslow was between assignments and with his in-laws near Fayetteville, North Carolina, when secession tore the country apart in late 1860. The rift touched him personally. On the Northern side lay his home state of Massachusetts, and on the Southern side his wife, Mary, and their four children, three boys and a girl.
Massachusetts-born Francis Winslow started his navy career as a midshipman in 1833 at age 15. He served aboard the brig Washington during the war with Mexico. During the Civil War he commanded two gunboats in the Gulf Blockading Squadron, the Water Witch and the R.R. Cuyler. On the latter ship he fell ill with yellow fever and succumbed to its effects on August 26, 1862, outside Key West, Fla. He is buried in New Hampshire.
Winslow sat for this portrait in the studio of J.W. Black of Boston in 1861 or 1862.