near Fredericksburg, we kept up these meetings and tract distributions, and witnessed increased interest among the men. These white-winged messengers of grace, as the tracts have been called, found their way into the hands of very many men of this part of our army. A novel and excellent way was to string a number of tracts and suspend to a tree on the public road, on the Sabbath, inviting all who felt interested to pull off a tract and read it. Oft wagoners stopped their teams, and officers drew near on horseback, and men walking along would turn by to get a tract, and continue on their way reading the good news therein contained, as they went along the road. April, 1863. Our company was attached temporarily to Early's Division. During the intervals of repose we enjoyed from fighting, we held two of the most serious and interesting prayer-meetings I ever attended; a deep seriousness prevailed, and the most solemn attention was given while we exhorted sinners to come to Christ. And many conversations were held privately with numbers, from time to time, who appeared to be deeply interested in their souls' salvation. After the second battle of Fredericksburg we continued these meetings, holding them nearly every night, during which time the interest increased. Several ministers of the different denominations visited and addressed us, and some thirty professed a change of heart, at different times. An incident occurred during the progress of the battles around Fredericksburg, while opposing Sedgwick's forces. A member of the company, who had seemed somewhat seriously disposed, was badly wounded and cried out loudly to one who had been taking a prominent part in the prayer-meetings to come and pray with him, as he was dying. He replied he could not leave his post while the battle was going on. Directly we were ordered to “cease firing,” and he immediately went to the side of the wounded man, who urged him to pray earnestly for him; he felt he was a great sinner, and had no hope nor comfort at the prospect of death; that he had slighted religion while in health, and he bitterly regretted, and desired now to find the Saviour in this hour of his extremity. The young brother prayed earnestly for him, but the wounded man could derive no comfort; he tossed in agony, and in a short time afterwards died, as he had lived—without God, and without hope. What a lesson to those in life and health to use well their opportunity! The interest in these prayer-meetings continued through the spring, and many professed to have passed from death unto life. The marked changes in the habits and deportment of men and officers were hopeful assurances to us that this was no mere enthusiasm. Some who have since passed away in the storm of battle, or by the influence of disease, gave proof that they had indeed passed from death unto life during this precious season of ingathering of souls, while of others we may only trust that this was truly a seasonable time with them to have trusted in Jesus. And we oft looked back to this period with joyful hearts, when so many professed a change of heart. For, but a short time before, we had but some fourteen professed members of the Church, and now we had over seventy who openly avowed the name of Jesus, and all this in a quiet, regular use of the ordinary means of grace. We felt, truly, the Lord had been gracious to us. From this time forward I noticed in the different parts of the army, and more particularly in our own company, what great reverence was paid to the word of God. And, in going around the camps early, how common a thing it was to see the men, while waiting for breakfast, or even on the first halt in an early march, earnestly engaged in reading their Testaments. There was also an increased desire to possess a Testament, and particularly a Bible. At this time, spring of 1863, I think the religious interest was more general and more deeply impressed on the minds of the men than at any other period during the war; at least it was more visible and noticeable in its effects. The spiritual condition of the men in the army, at this time and after, was thought to be deeper and stronger than that of the people at home —commonly said, that all the religion was in the army. I never saw this influence
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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