foreign missionaries that I have had acquaintance with, I have known no such body of faithful, devoted servants of God as the chaplains, in general, of the Confederate army. And, as to the prevalent tone of piety, among the soldiers converted in the army or otherwise professing religion, I think it was certainly higher than, as a general thing, it was at home at that time; and I am inclined to believe that it was higher than it is in most of our Churches and communities at home at any time. Almost everybody joined in the psalmody of the camp-services, and the novel example was often to be seen there of fine congregational singing, where most of the parts were well supported, without a female voice. The devoutness of attitude and manner I have already spoken of, and the attention to the preached word. And as it seemed to me, so too it seemed to strike almost every minister and Christian that went to camp, that there was a somewhat peculiarly earnest, hearty character about the piety of the soldiers. And I have really feared that our Christian young men from the army would lose something of the warmth and life of their piety in coming home to some of our churches. In this connection I would say that, with a very few exceptions, those who professed conversion in the army, within my acquaintance, have stood well, most of them very well. Some of them promise to make valuable church-members. I have known of several of the army converts, one of them a distant relative of mine, who have turned their attention to the ministry. I have no doubt that the number would have proved to be a good deal larger but for the fact that the war itself so threw back our young men, that survived, in their education, and the destitution of means, on the part of many of them, for carrying on a course of study. On the whole, having, from my relation to it, been familiar with the army, my general impression is, that there has never, in this country, been such a field of evangelistic effort as it presented, and that such effort has never, anywhere among us, produced larger fruits. And never, in my opinion, in all the history of religion on this continent, has any body of ministers had the privilege of doing a more enviable, if I might not say glorious, work than that fulfilled by the faithful chaplains of the Confederate armies. How many a poor, brave fellow was cheered in his separation from home and “ the loved ones,” or comforted in the languishings of sickness or wounds; how many a one led to Christ, that went to glory from a hospital bed or a gory battlefield, or that has come back to serve God and the Church, through the self-denying labors of those servants of God! If there has been, in our generation, a ministerial work and crown to be coveted, it seems to me it is that of one of our army chaplains who did his work earnestly. And so, in more or less degree, of zealous, active Christian men in the army, especially officers. What a noble work of usefulness did some of them accomplish! The influence, eminently, of Jackson, what was its extent, what its value? In his example, and in that of General Gordon and many officers of every grade, and of untitled men in the ranks, a glorious demonstration has been given to all the world in all time, but especially to our Southern people, that the highest Christian character may be attained and conserved, and the noblest Christian usefulness achieved, under circumstances apparently the most unpropitious for Christian culture; for what outward circumstances could apparently be worse, in this regard, than those of the camp, war and battle? I am glad that you have undertaken the history. I am not certain whether you design it to extend to any but the Army of Northern Virginia. But such a chronicle, in regard to all our armies, ought to be executed, and will be, I should think, the most striking and important part of the religious history of our times. I do not know whether what I have now written you will furnish you any material
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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