and held religious services during the time mentioned, which resulted in the hopeful conversion of some eight or ten. At least as many, I think, had been hopefully converted in those Bedford companies before my arrival, part of them in connection with public efforts of ministers in the other regiments and partly through the Divine blessing upon the labors of lay brethren of the regiment, among whom, especially in Company H (to which my son belonged), there were some excellent, working Christian men. I have always thought that, looking at matters “ humanly,” it is probable that we should, at that time, have had a great apparent religious development in the Thirty-fourth except that a great awakening had already manifested itself in two of the regiments (Twenty-sixth and Forty-sixth), whose camps were close by—that of the Forty-sixth within a few hundred yards; and the men of the Thirty-fourth had, many of them, been attending the services held, day and night, in those neighboring camps, and had become interested in them. The faithful and excellent chaplains of the Twenty-sixth and Forty-sixth, Brothers Wiatt and W. G. Miller, can give you a full history of the work in those regiments. But I may say that it was powerful, and, in the Twenty-sixth especially, enduring. I suppose that few, if any, regiments in all the Confederate armies were more thoroughly pervaded by the influence of religion during the middle and latter periods of the war, than the two just mentioned; and a good deal of the same state of things existed, at the same time, in the Thirty-fourth. The Fifty-ninth, which, with some artillery and a company or two of cavalry, generally detached, filled up the brigade, did not have a chaplain, while I visited the brigade, till the latter part of the war, when they were served by Rev. Lyman Wharton, of Liberty, Bedford county, of the Episcopal Church. I shall never forget those bright days and brilliant moonlight nights at Chapin's Farm, the delicious cool water of the camp wells, the full gatherings in the regimental chapel and the sounds of prayer and praise ascending from our encampment, mingling sometimes with similar sounds from those in the vicinity. Not being able, for reasons already adverted to, to contribute much of actual detailed history, I will give you the general results of my observations on the religious state of the Confederate armies, especially within the last three years of the war. You, as a more interior man, so to speak, saw some things better than I could do. But it may be of some interest and value to know the impressions, some of them very strong, of one who was a frequent visitor to the army and was in constant intercourse, for years, with our soldiers, on the points following. I shall not, perhaps, follow the order of them very rigidly. 1. The comparative state of different parts of the army, as respects religion. It struck me everywhere, in my extensive intercourse and observation, that the morality and religious feeling of the soldiers belonging to bodies detached and scattered, in greater or less numbers together, over the country, was much below that of those in more regular service. This was owing, I suppose, to the greater laxity of discipline and exposure to temptation as well as the want of ministerial labor and culture, and the absence, in a great degree, of any public sentiment, even such as we may suppose to have existed in the army, to restrain them. I thought I distinctly saw a great difference also between those parts of the army that enjoyed the labors of chaplains and other means of religious culture and those that did not; indeed the difference struck me as exceedingly great and palpable. And these facts, as I suppose, account for the conflicting statements made by persons who visited or belonged to different parts of the army, during the war, as to its moral and spiritual condition. The facts themselves, owing, I suppose, to the causes just indicated, were in exceeding contrast. 2. The attendance on preaching and religions services. This varied in different regiments and parts of the army, according, I suppose, to the prevalent degree of interest in religion, perhaps a good deal according to the amount of faithful labor
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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