“  think you all will be victorious.” I asked why. Said he: “Because I believe your army is composed of better men than ours; during the whole time that I have lain in this hospital I have heard but one oath, and that just seemed to have slipped from a Louisianian in the adjoining tent. In our hospitals you would hear them every moment.” Among our own men I met some cases full of interest among both men and officers—so many, in fact, I can hardly begin to relate them. I will, however, give two which interested me much. One was Captain Williams, of North Carolina troops. He was a young man of great modesty, youthful in appearance, tender-looking and generous. Gallantry had won him early promotion. He was the cherished son of a pious mother, towards whom his heart seemed ever turning. For a long time he lingered, his mind ever clear, but he foresaw his end. Under the dissipations of camp he had too far forgotten the pious counsels of his mother, and the regret of this became very harrowing to his heart. He constantly spoke of his mother, and longed for her presence before death. A long time he had great difficulty in understanding how Christ could be his substitute; but finally the Spirit opened his heart. He grew more bright and contented, and finally seemed to rejoice greatly that he could leave his dear mother some comfort in his death. He clung to me and was always begging me to read to him and pray with him; and whereas he seemed to gain no benefit for a long time, he learned eventually to enjoy the word as I have seldom seen men do, making good and touching comments on it as I read verse after verse. One day when I approached him he called me affectionately to him, and most touchingly said, in childlike simplicity: “Oh, sir, you are an angel sent to me, in answer to the prayers of my dear, dear mother, who cannot be with me.” He ultimately died full of hope. Another was a young man named Wilson, also from that good old State of North Carolina. His thigh was fractured in “the upper third,” but his strong constitution long induced hope of his recovery; for several months he was silent, indifferent and even grum-looking, without being sour. When he had passed the crisis, as was hoped, I asked him if his thoughts had not been turned upon death and need of preparation for it. “No, sir. I never had a serious thought of death or religion.” Astonished, I inquired if he was raised in a Christian family, and if he had any conscious antipathy to the matter of religion. “None,” said he; “my mother is a member of the Baptist Church, and the most prayerful woman I ever knew; she raised me most piously, prayed with me, and is praying for me all the time. I admire religion; I have a desire to obtain it, and to bear or do what is necessary to get it; but I have never felt one really deep or serious impression in my heart in health or sickness.” For weeks I daily visited him and sought to instruct, to induce, and finally to alarm him, but all seemed hopeless. I was lost in wonder. One night about bedtime he sent for me; he had been taken suddenly ill, and death sat upon his countenance. When I entered the room, like one shaken over the flames of hell he said, with an emphasis which I cannot command: “I am dying, sir; I am dying; and I am dying in my sins; my mother, oh, my mother!” I talked with him; I prayed; I left him wrapped in grief and wonder. Surgeons said he must die in a few hours, but he lived longer; I remained with him a great deal. A few nights after, at 2 P. M., I was summoned to his tent. Again he saluted me: “I am dying, sir; I am dying;” but now with changed expression he added: “I am dying happy; I am going to my Saviour; and you must write to mother that you saw me go into glory.” Again the surgeons pronounced him in articulo mortis; but, as if to confirm his testimony and make it reliable, the Lord spared him some time longer, and he gave goodly tokens of recovery. During that time his tongue, so habitually silent hitherto, spoke freely of Jesus' pardoning blood, and his face, hitherto grum, became radiant with sunny hope, while the previous murmuring of his heart gave place to contentment. He wondered at himself, and greatly rejoiced
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1 : religious elements in the army.
Chapter 2 : influence of Christian officers.
Chapter 3 : influence of Christian officers—continued.
Chapter 4 : influence of Christian officers—concluded.
Chapter 5 : Bible and colportage work.
Chapter 6 : hospital work.
Chapter 7 : work of the chaplains and missionaries.
Chapter 8 : eagerness of the soldiers to hear the Gospel .
Chapter 9 : State of religion in 1861 - 62 .
Chapter 10 : revivals in the Lower Valley and around Fredericksburg .
Chapter 11 : the great revival along the Rapidan .
Chapter 12 : progress of the work in 1864 - 65 .
Chapter 13 : results of the work and proofs of its genuineness
Appendix: letters from our army workers.
Appendix no. 2 : the work of grace in other armies of the Confederacy .
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