But it is due to the truth of history, as well as necessary to a correct understanding of my subject, that I should say that the Christian
people of the South
not only thought they were right in resisting the invasion of their soil and the coercion, by the Federal Government
, of sovereign States, but that they went forth to battle, or sent their sons, in firm reliance upon ‘the Lord
Scarcely a company moved without some public religious service, and it was considered a most important part of each man's equipment that he should carry in his knapsack a copy of God's word.
All of our evangelical denominations were well represented in the rank and file of our army, and many of our preachers felt it their duty to go to the front, accompanied by the very flower of their young men. Of the first four companies from Georgia
to arrive in Virginia
, three of the captains were earnest, Christian men, and fifty of one of the companies were members of the same church.
A regiment, stationed near Portsmouth
in June, 1861, was reported to contain 400 of the same denomination, and another regiment had in its ranks five
ministers of the gospel.
I well remember that the first time I ever saw the famous old Rockbridge Artillery—on the 4th of July, 1861, when we were drawn up in line of battle at Darksville
, in the lower Valley of Virginia, expecting an attack from General Patterson
—it contained seven Masters of Arts of the University of Virginia, fortytwo other college graduates, nineteen theological students, others (including a son of General R. E. Lee
) who were among the noblest young men of the South
, and a proportion of Christian men as surprisingly large as it was highly gratifying.
When the news of the secession of Virginia
reached the quiet little town of Lexington, Virginia
, nestled among the Blue mountains
, some of the students of Washington College at once raised a secession flag on the dome of the college building.
(They had done the same thing some days before, but the faculty had unanimously voted that it must be taken down, as Virginia
was still in the Union
.) The next morning, the president of the college, Rev. Dr. Junkin
(the father-in-law of the afterwards famous ‘Stonewall
, but an ardent Union man all through the war), called a meeting of the faculty to ask what they proposed to do about the breach of discipline on the part of the students, as he regarded it, in again raising the flag on the college.
voiced the sentiments of the faculty and of the