previous next

[511] to be prayed for. I have never seen such a time before or since. There were as many evidences of genuine penitence as I ever noticed at home—yes, more. Almost every day there would be a dozen conversions, and there were in the six weeks in the brigade, not less than five hundred who professed conversion. Not all of our brigade, for there was a battalion of artillery camped near us, and other brigades, who attended our preaching, many of whom professed religion. We estimated the conversions then at five hundred and fifty. I baptized about one hundred, Brother Cumbie about fifty, and most of the others joined the Methodists. This work, as you know, prevailed nearly all through the army. But it was partially interrupted by the fall campaign, when we drove Meade back to Bull Run. But the army returned from that campaign to Orange, went into winter-quarters and spent the winter there. Part of this winter I was at home on furlough. But prayer-meetings, Bible-classes and preaching were successfully kept up through the winter. And the revival also, in a less degree, continued. The Young Men's Christian Association was largely attended, many went to exhorting, and a great many prayed in public, some of whom were greatly gifted. A most interesting feature was the large number who would retire after the evening “roll-call” in groups, to pray. Walk out from camp at that hour in any direction and you would find them, two, three, half-dozen and a dozen, in a place, all bowed in the dark, earnestly praying for themselves and the conversion of their comrades; they nearly always took some unconverted ones with them.

Through the awful campaign of 1864 there were very limited opportunities to preach to this brigade. It was almost constantly under fire or on the march. From the Wilderness to Petersburg and around Petersburg, this was the case. Though I preached to them as often as I could, yet most of my preaching was to other commands. I have several times preached when shot and shell were flying over our heads, and also several times I had minnie-balls to strike in my congregation while preaching. We often had prayer-meetings in the trenches, where God did greatly bless and comfort our hearts. In the winter-quarters at Petersburg there was much faithful preaching, and regular prayer-meetings kept up in this brigade.

1. I believe that the conversions were genuine. There were exceptions of course. But I received candidates for baptism just as I do at home, i. e., I assembled the Baptists of the regiment, heard a relation of the applicants' Christian experience, took the vote, etc. All other Baptist ministers, I think, did the same. And their statements of the work of grace were clear and satisfactory.

2. So far as my knowledge extended, these converts maintained their professions with astonishing faithfulness. Up to the time that I left them, I knew of but two or three exceptions.

3. The character of the brigade was decidedly moral and religious, compared with what it was before this good work began. The worship of God became a fixed part of the regular duties of the brigade. The religious element was as well defined, as well organized and as constant, as in any congregation to whom I have preached. Christians were recognized as such, ministers were respected and kindly treated and loved. I have never had a congregation at home that seemed to esteem me more, and certainly I never loved a congregation so much. I never was treated disrespectfully by a soldier or officer while I was in the army—not in one instance. They preserved a tender regard for my feelings. None of them ever gambled or swore in my immediate presence; if any did swear in my immediate presence in a moment of unguarded levity or haste or passion, they always followed it with a hecoming apology. Card-playing and the like ceased to be public in this brigade, except among the Irish Catholics, of whom there were three companies, who seemed “neither to fear God nor regard man;” only they were very good soldiers.

4. The officers of my regiment, to a man, were respectful to me and to my position. They always attended preaching. There was no exception. Some of them

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Orange Court House (Virginia, United States) (1)
Bull Run, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
H. Everard Meade (1)
Virginia Baptist (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1864 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: