in the battle of the Wilderness, I hope he died a Christian. Many other incidents I might relate, but these will suffice to show the power of personal approach and interviews with men, which we are so slow to use. General Paxton, who had been represented as a hard-hearted man, I soon found a wise and earnest coadjutor of all chaplains in the faithful discharge of their duties, and interested in knowing what they were doing. He agreed fully with General Jackson in his regard for the office, though at this time he made no profession of religion. When we reached our destination near Guinea Station, I handed my report for General Jackson to him through Lieutenant Smith, and asked and obtained a furlough. My regimental commander (Colonel Nadenbousch), himself not a professor of religion, told me he should have a chapel built for me on my return. When my furlough expired, I found the brigade in winter-quarters, near Moss Neck, and some steps had been taken towards having a brigade-chapel erected; but the work had come to a pause. As this had been done, I was told, by the military authority, I awaited their completion of it. At length General Paxton, to whom I had not been introduced, sent for me to his quarters, requested me to hasten the chapel's erection, saying he did not feel authorized to detail men on it, but that, if I would obtain volunteers, he would exempt them from military duties, “ provided they would work.” The foundation had been laid in this shape.
The work was put into the hands of a man in the Fourth Regiment.
The building was about the centre of the brigade; and the work was soon completed.
And if the master-workman (a self-styled “ corporal” ) did desert the army immediately after his work was done, he left behind a monument which deserves in your book a much more honorable association than with his name.
Rev. L. C. Vass visited us just at the completion of our “first temple” and preached the first sermon in it. He became chaplain of the Twenty-seventh Regiment.
His appointment supplied all five regiments of the brigade with the living ministry.
We seemed now ready, under a favorable Providence, for hard work.
All the army was quiet; General Paxton urged us on; General Jackson, near by, encouraged us by frequent attendance at service; regimental officers upheld our hands.
But for awhile all seemed spiritually dead.
A number of prisoners were under sentence of death for desertion, although not one from my regiment.
I was in daily attendance upon them in the guard-house.
As most of our chaplains were absent from camp much of that time, this painful service devolved on me, even to announcing their sentences and accompanying them to the stake.
Their expressions of hope and gratitude must be my sufficient reward in this life.
Brother Tebbs having returned from furlough, he and I began frequent services.
I also organized a Bible-class in the brigade court-martial room, which, designed primarily for my own regiment, was opened also to any persons.
We commenced with about thirty members, and met twice a week at night.
In the course of time I had the joy of welcoming nearly every member of that class into a profession of Christ.
By the latter part of February a very general interest in religion had spread throughout the brigade.
Chaplains were more devoted; congregations larger; but not many taking decided stand for the Lord in public.
Chaplains of the brigade, and indeed of the division, began to grow acquainted, interested in each other and co-operative.
We discussed the idea of holding stated meetings for mutual prayer and conference.
Some of us visited our honored corps-commander and conversed with him regarding such measures, and were gratified to learn that he approved them.