Something on the soldier's cheekI tried, with an earnestness I have rarely, if ever, commanded, to tell them the story of the Cross — to hold up Christ as “the way, the truth, and the life” ; and I remember that there were quite a number who, at the close of the service, signified their personal acceptance of the way of salvation. All during that memorable campaign, as well as in the trenches at Petersburg, the revival spirit was unabated, and incidents of thrilling interest occurred. I have in my possession carefully-collated statistics, to show that, during the four years of its existence, at least fifteen thousand soldiers — of the Army of Northern Virginia professed faith in Christ, and that these professions were as genuine and as lasting as those of any of the churches at home. These statistics are not given at random, but are very carefully compiled from the minutes of our Chaplains' Association, the reports of chaplains and army missionaries made at the time, and other sources of information, which fully satisfied me that fifteen thousand is a really low estimate of the number of converts. And as to, the genuineness of these professions, I am prepared to prove that in their after lives in the army-their triumphant deaths-or the conduct of the survivors since the war, these army converts as a rule (of course there were some cases of sad backsliding, as there have been in every revival since the days of Judas Iscariot and Simon Magus) gave as conclusive evidence of the genuineness of their conversion, as is ever found in revivals at home. Among our chaplains there were some of the ablest and most devoted men in all of the evangelical denominations. We had some inefficient men, of course, and the hard jokes which irreligious officers sometimes perpetrated at the expense of their chaplains (such as telling one making for the rear, when the battle was growing hot, “You have been preaching about what a sweet place heaven is, and, now that you have a chance to go there in a few minutes, you are running away from it” ), were, doubtless, well deserved. And yet an intimate acquaintance with the chaplains of the Army of Northern Virginia, enables me to say as I do, without reserve, that they were, as a class, as self-sacrificing, devoted a band of Christian workers as the world has seen since apostolic times. The public sentiment, among both officers and men, in that army, would speedily drive away a chaplain who was unfaithful to his trust. Religion became among us such a real, living, vital power that even irreligious officers came to recognize and encourage it-many of them having preaching regularly at their headquarters, and
Washed off the stain of powder,
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.