It was the last Sabbath in April, and the day was bright and propitious, except that a breeze was stirring, which created some difficulty to the speaker; but Brother Lacy was able, by the power of his full and strong voice, to overcome this; and he seemed to be listened to with profound attention. That was the last, the very last Sabbath that Jackson ever attended a public service, for it was the one that opened the week of the Chancellorsville fights, and the next one found him torn with the cruel wounds that brought on his death. And often, since that time, have I thought, how many of the brave fellows whom I saw there, that day, reading and listening, were reading and hearing the messages of heaven for the very last time! I parted with General Jackson at his tent on the next day, and in the act of parting he was led by the conversation to express himself, in regard to the great struggle in which the country was then engaged, in a manner that was very impressive and interesting. But it has become even more so in the connection of those words with events immediately following and in the light of events now transpiring around us. I communicated the conversation, after his death, to some of the public prints, and do not now repeat it to you because I do not know that it could answer any purpose for your book. But, returning to my proper topic, I saw a yet larger, grander concourse of soldiers at a religious service, in General Bragg's army, while it was encamped in Middle Tennessee, near Shelbyville. Bishop Elliott, of Georgia, preached on a Sabbath afternoon, being assisted in the services by Dr. Quintard, the present Episcopal Bishop of Tennessee. The congregation formed a vast circle, filling up with a dense mass a large opening in the woods, many seated on the logs arranged for the purpose, but many standing and forming the outer circumference, and a few, Zaccheus-like, clambering up and seating themselves in the trees to see and hear. I have permitted myself, under the impulse of feelings awakened by the recurrence of my memory to those scenes gone by, to enlarge in a degree that I had not expected and hardly consistent with method. If I were preparing this for the press I should detach a good deal of what I have put under this head and print it separately. But, writing to you privately, I have indulged myself somewhat, in writing along as I have done and following my feelings. And now, next, as to 3. Good order and attention, in the attendance on religious services. This, so far as my observation extended, was, with scarce an exception that I remember, most exemplary. I hardly ever saw the idle hanging about outside the building or in the outskirts of the out-door congregations which infests so many of our places of worship at home, and very seldom saw any running in and out or any of the whispering and smiling which are likewise too common among us. And no man who has ever preached to our soldiers, under tolerably favorable circumstances, will fail to say that he seldom ever preached to more attentive hearers. And here I may speak of what I observed as to the estimation in which faithful chaplains and ministers were held by the soldiers. True, it was not every chaplain that was held in such esteem. Indeed, it seemed to me that our soldiers were, as a general thing, remarkably correct in their discrimination. They used sometimes to say to me, “ We don't like Mr.——; he smokes his pipe and enjoys himself with the officers, preaches sometimes and hardly ever comes among us.” And very often I had the pleasure of hearing one and another of them say, “ Our chaplain, sir? ah! he is a good man; he often comes round to see us, is always at work and has done a great deal of good; we all like him.” I wish, in fact, that ministers at home were generally held in as good estimation, “ for their work's sake,” as they were—those at all of the right stamp—on the part of the soldiers. I can testify for myself that I have never, anywhere, as a general thing, been treated with such consideration, on account of my office as a minister, as among the Confederate soldiers; and I shall ever remember the “pleasant times ” that I had among them Next, as to
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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