more visibly expressed than at a Sabbath-day service held near Fredericksburg, at the old quarters occupied by General Jackson previous to the second battle of Fredericksburg or Chancellorsville. It was the first quiet Sabbath after the battles—Sabbath, May 10. The services were conducted by Rev. B. T. Lacy, who preached from the text, ‘All things work together for good to those that love God,’ etc.: Rom. VIII. The attendance was very large—between 2,500 and 3,000—consisting of privates and officers of all grades, from General Lee down. I never witnessed such thoughtfulness and seriousness depicted on the faces of any auditors. The preacher stated this was General Jackson's favorite text—then unfolded the doctrine and the peculiar comfort to be derived from it by those who were truly the children of God. At this time, the condition of General Jackson was very critical, and the men seemed to feel that much depended on his recovery. At the conclusion of the sermon Mr. Lacy stated that it might be God's will to spare his life in answer to our prayers, and called upon all to join him in an earnest petition to the throne of grace that God would be pleased to spare him to us. I heard many broken utterances and ejaculations during that prayer, and some declared they tried to pray then, while they thought they had never tried to pray in earnest before. Deep and solemn earnestness appeared written on every countenance. At the conclusion an impressive pause followed; then the preacher said a few words in application of the text—that it would be all for the best, whatever God would determine in reference to the event; and then the crowd quietly dispersed to their camps, ever to retain in their memories this impressive proceeding. Then, in the evening and on the next morning, the news of his (Jackson's) death was reported in camp, and I was struck with the calm, subdued feeling of resignation among the men of his corps—so different, in contrast, in the spirit and tone manifested by the people at home, when they heard the sad news. The sermon seemed to have wrought its own application in the mind of the army, and the feeling prevailed that it was right and all for the best, though we could not understand it. This event was to our minds deeply blessed to the spiritual good of the army. And at this particular time—last of May and first of June, 1863—the deepest religious impressions were most plainly evident in our company, and also general in the Army of Northern Virginia. Many of our company sought to hold religious converse in the day and at night, and very often we talked and prayed with the men while walking our beats on guard. Ministers of the different denominations came and preached for us. There was a marked absence of sectarian feeling, and everything was made to centre on the great and saving truths of the Gospel. During the past winter, while in camp, a majority of the messes had family worship, as we termed it, regularly every night, using pine-knots for our lights, by which light we were also enabled to do some reading and chess-playing. Several of the messes kept up the worship even after we moved from camp and were engaged in the spring campaign—simply omitting the singing—alternating in conducting the worship. We were now most of the time with the regiment—styled First Virginia Artillery —where we found some earnest Christian men, who zealously joined us in establishing prayer-meetings in the different companies and on different nights, so that we had a prayer-meeting nearly every night in the regiment when we were quiet, and preaching regularly on the Sabbath when not on the march, and when the weather would permit; also, committees to distribute tracts and Testaments, with religious papers, and we had the assurance these means of grace were oft blessed for the good of souls. August 23, 1863. While encamped near Gordonsville—Blue Run Church—with the regiment, formed a Christian Association, in order to be more united in our efforts to do good, which association continued in existence throughout the war and did much to improve the moral and religious character of the regiment. Good
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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