Life Across the River

A Wartime Wedding

Civil War <em>ketubah</em>

The ketubah, or marriage contract, for Bettie Dreifus and Henry Baum, 1862.

In 1862, when it was clear the war would not end quickly, President Lincoln issued a draft for the Union army. Travel restrictions prevented eligible men from leaving their home states to avoid the draft.

That same year, 26-year-old Bettie Dreifus of Alexandria planned to marry Washington’s Henry Baum. Because of the new travel prohibitions, the groom could not travel to his bride’s home in Alexandria. So the couple married in Washington.