whole State when he at once said, ‘Virginia
has now acted, and the boys are right.
I say let the flag wave, and, for myself, I propose to fight under it, and to use my influence to induce our students to do the same.’
Accordingly, he raised among the students and a few graduates of the college a company of seventy-two, which they called the ‘Liberty Hall Volunteers,’ the name borne by a company of students from the same institution who did valiant service in the Revolution of 1776.
They elected Professor White
as their first captain, all of their officers were Christian men, more than half of the rank and file belonged to some evangelical church, and about one-fourth were candidates for the ministry.
Rev. Dr. J. M. P. Atkinson
of Hampden-Sidney College, organized a company composed of his own students and those of the Union Theological Seminary, and nearly all of this company were professed Christians.
Not a few of our pastors had a large majority, and sometimes all of their male members in the army, and in some cases they commanded companies composed largely of members of their own churches.
I cannot better illustrate the subject of this chapter than by giving from the files of our religious newspapers copious extracts from letters from the camp, or from men in position to see and know the state of things in the army, and among the people during these early days of the war. Some of these extracts illustrate several of my chapters, but I give them as they are.
Rev. Dr. Joseph Walker
thus writes from Richmond
to the Religious Herald
, under date of May 2, 1861: