to our opportunities of using the means until active hostilities commenced with Grant. After, there were but few opportunities of preaching, though prayermeet-ings, etc., continued to the close of the war. November, 1864, owing to a chronic dysentery, I was forced to leave the army, having been able to do but little previously for several months. A young man opposed to religion, who never attended on the means of grace, looking upon professors of religion with a malignant hatred, was sent to the Corps Hospital, near Spottsylvania (at Stewart's), with pneumonia. I nursed him, procured him medical attention and such luxuries and condiments as could be obtained. There was a good deal of irregularity in the medical department, and it was difficult to obtain proper treatment. Through my endeavors he was relieved, and I attended him carefully. One day he told me he had been under the impression that the Christian religion “was a humbug,” but my disinterested conduct toward him had undeceived him, and he intended now to lead a different life. He joined the Church, and as long as I knew him he was a zealous Christian. As many as twenty or thirty cases might be mentioned of those who acknowledged the instrumentality of a mother's prayers. One young man, who had been long anxious, and in doubt, found relief while we were praying, and was afterwards a zealous Christian. The regular, earnest, zealous preaching of God's word seems to have been the means most especially blessed. The number of converts, I presume, in the brigade was about five hundred (I can't say for certain, I think it is a very low estimate). One fact under this head: During my first winter in camp, I “bunked” with six reckless fellows. I had the pleasure of seeing them all members of the Church. But few instances came under my observation of “falling away.” Many died happy; in their sufferings were supported. I never knew one to regret the step. In the brigade fifteen or twenty line-officers were converted, some of whom were very efficient and influential. Our great drawback in the beginning was owing to the “wickedness in high places.” The influence of religion was most excellent. The better the men, the better the soldiers. While we were camped near Orange Court House, an invitation was extended to Rev. Mr. Lacy to deliver a lecture on the life, character, etc., of General Jackson. Several neighboring brigades joined with us. General Lee was present, and about one-third of the general officers of our corps. The singing on the occasion was grand, and the effect on the men very beneficial. Dr. Lacy repeated the remark, of which I presume you have heard him speak, that General Jackson made in regard to repentance when suffering as he was. That, unless he had previously made his peace with God, he did not think it would be possible to collect his thoughts to contemplate such a subject then. That remark arrested the attention of several who were subsequently converted. About this time we had a communion, when the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered. This, I remember, occurred on the day Grant commenced moving. About sixty were received on that occasion into the Church, and there, for the first and last time, commemorated the love of their dying Lord. Never did I enjoy any communion more. Never did I witness one more solemn and impressive than that. I can recall the scene now, and many of the upturned, anxious faces appear as they did then, while our excellent Brother Witherspoon, of Davis's Brigade, presented the truth to them. Their bones for many a long day bleached upon the hard fought fields where they fell. But they fell with the assurance that God was with them. It is a little remarkable that very few of our church-members survived the war. Perhaps the explanation is that they were more fearless, but it is true. You know but few, good or bad, returned home; but the proportion is quite remarkable; e.g.,
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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