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[334] preached to nearly all of Johnson's Division, which was bivouaced in a large plain. Lying as they thus were, close together, and without their usual resources, a larger audience was secured than would be possible in camp. In this division I met my old regiment, and also another containing many men from my town. On Tuesday I moved to the front. Here I met Brother J. Wm. Jones, who insisted on my preaching in his brigade. As they were right on the Rapidan, in sight and hearing of both the cannonading and sharp-shooting, which, of course, greatly interested the men, leading them to rush in crowds to a point commanding a view of what was going on, I expressed a doubt as to whether preaching was expedient. A soldier lying on the ground said, “As soon as you begin, they will stop looking and come to hear you, and none will leave, either.” I found this literally true. In this brigade, as well as in a neighboring battalion of artillery where I preached, I found several of the members of my Church, who seemed so glad to see me, and gave such good accounts of themselves, that I felt sorry I had not sooner paid them a pastoral visit. My friends at home feared I would make myself sick in the army. Instead of this, I returned home invigorated in every respect. Preaching principally at night, I staid mainly in camp or bivouacs. But whenever I desired the refreshment of a good home-meal or bed, they were heartily afforded by Brother Hiden and Brother Scott, who, with their wives, think they cannot be too kind and hospitable to preachers, even in these hard times, and in the trying circumstances in which they are placed, surrounded by a large army. I should not omit to mention the cordial greeting and hospitality extended by officers of various denominations, and of none, and their testimony to the improvement in our army. I could not help noticing how many were reading their Testaments, even when they were lying on the roadside, and how they would gather in knots to spend a short leisure in singing. I tried once or twice to carry tracts, but in vain, as crowds of soldiers would gather around and humbly, but earnestly beg to relieve me. It was pleasant every day or two to meet Brothers Pritchard, Broaddus, Sr., and others, and compare notes. They will, doubtless, give you their impressions and experiences.


Geo. B. Taylor. Staunton, September 23.

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