work of spiritual preparation for the campaign. We built a neat chapel (in the construction of which I was much indebted to General Rodes for hauling), and Brother Brooks and I joined in worship. We held meetings every night alternately for a month, and part of the time a prayer-meeting at 12 o'clock. There were about ten in my regiment and some two or three in his who joined the Church, most of them the Baptist Church. This was near Orange Court House, and at the time of our marching there was still considerable seriousness in the brigade. Brother Richardson, of the Thirty-second (Methodist), also had a revival at the same time, and some twenty professed Christ. I had generally prayer or preaching at night when it was practicable. J. W. Bivens, Company O (Baptist), held regularly every night after roll-call prayer in his company, so long as he remained. He lost an arm, June, 1864. Then his brother, J. A. Bivens. a subject of the revival of April, 1864, took his place until he was mortally wounded at Winchester, September, 1864. A. B. West, a licentiate of the Baptist Church, Company K, also rendered me efficient service both by example and conversation. He was not well educated, and did not undertake to preach. He was killed September 19, Winchester, 1864. R. A. Moore, another licentiate of the Baptist Church, Company G, was very active. He was more intelligent and better educated than the others, and as he was generally on the ambulance-corps or nurse in the hospital he did much good. April campaign, 1864, we numbered about 300 in camp; about one-fourth were members of some Church—the Baptists in excess, then Methodists, then Presbyterians, with some Lutherans. I distributed a great many tracts, and generally received a number of copies of religious newspapers weekly. The men were generally supplied with Testaments, as I obtained a supply at two different times. They always seemed particularly anxious to get Testaments. I suppose there was at least a fourth who could not read, and in one company nearly all. The officers of my regiment were generally moral men, and most of them members of the Church, though none were active Christians. The colonel, at his own suggestion towards the close of the war, gave orders for the band to play some sacred music after the roll-call, and prayers by the chaplain, at which he attended. It was my privilege to labor in the hospitals at Gettysburg for three months, but I have nothing very remarkable to relate. The wounded were always glad to see the chaplains coming into their tents, and heard gladly the word of God. There is one incident which illustrates the power of religion in forgiveness of enemies and the triumph of faith over death. I have thought of dressing it up and giving it publicity, but other duties have interfered. I have not now by me the record of the name of the soldier, but I am pretty sure it was Dunston, of Petersburg, Virginia. His case having become very offensive he was carried to the pest-house, which was an arrangement of tents separate from the rest. This was attended by Federal nurses, and one was a tall fellow by the name of Smith. He was an attentive nurse, as I might remark their nurses were generally, but not so much evidently from Christian principle as from policy, as it kept them out of the field; but he was very profane, and frequently gambling. Dunston lingered several days. The first time I saw him he told me he was a Christian, and I believe had become one in the army. He was quite talkative and very hopeful, and urged me to come again. I called again about the time he began to die. The scene which I witnessed was quite affecting. He was entirely conscious, and was almost in ecstasy. He called Smith to his bedside, and as that tall soldier stooped down he threw his arms around his neck, and said: “Billy, you have been very kind to me; Billy, you must quit swearing; you are too good to go to hell; quit swearing, Billy.” Then, after manifesting much outward affection towards his nurse, he released him, but continued for some time reaching towards heaven and clasping his hands and saying he saw Jesus, and in this happy frame he died.
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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