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[535]

Appendix no. 2: the work of grace in other armies of the Confederacy.

In the body of this volume I purposely confined myself to ‘Religion in Lee's Army,’ not only because I desired to write of what I had personal knowledge, and had far more material than I could possibly use, but because I have been hoping that some competent hand would prepare a companion volume to mine for the other armies of the Confederacy. This I sincerely hope will yet be done. But as there has been a demand on the part of many people for something concerning the other armies, and as the publishers generously propose to give the additional matter without increasing the price of the book, I have consented to compile it. I had hoped to get some chaplain in the Western Army to undertake the work of compilation for me, but as I have failed in my efforts to secure this, I must do the compilation myself, using freely such material as I can command, and the kind help of such brethren as I have been able to induce to help me.

But I shall not be able to observe the same order and consistency of narrative as I could do with more space, and with more time at my disposal to make the compilation. I can only use as I find them newspaper clippings, and extracts from letters of chaplains, colporteurs, and other army workers. I shall have occasion to make free use again of the admirable little volume—‘The Great Revival in the Southern Armies,’—of my friend and brother, Dr. W. W. Bennett, whose lamented death last summer has added fresh interest to his very valuable book.

In speaking of helps to the revival, Dr. Bennett says: ‘A writer, speaking of the religious influence in the Army of Tennessee, says: “General Cleburne, the hero of many battle-fields, had a place prepared for preaching in the centre of his Division, where himself and most of his officers were present, and where I was assisted by General Lowry, who sat in the pulpit with me and closed the services of the hour with prayer. He is a Baptist preacher, and, like the commander of the Division, is a hero of many well-fought battle-fields. He takes great interest in the soldiers' religious welfare, often preaches to them, and feels that the ministry is still his high and holy calling.” Generals Findly, Bickler, Stewart, with others of the same army, were pious and devoted Christian officers, and gave much assistance to the chaplains and missionaries in the revival that swept so gloriously through the armies in the West. They recommended religion to their soldiers by precept and example. But these men were generals, and their contact with the soldiers was not so close as that of inferior officers. In the companies and regiments the work of pious officers was most effectually done.’

Rev. B. B. Ross, of Alabama, writing to Rev. A. E. Dickinson, says: ‘I am just from a pleasant tour among the hospitals in Mississippi, where I found 3,000 sick. They are greedy, yea, ravenous, in their appetite for something to read. Under the labors of your colporteurs there has been a revival of religion at Quitman, and there is also a revival in progress at Lauderdale Springs. The surgeons have been especially [536] kind to me—at times calling my attention to certain cases of the sick, at others making appointments for me to preach.’

Rev. S. A. Creath, Army of Tennessee: ‘I am still following up the army, trying to be of service to them. At Atlanta I saw 3,000 sick men. Started to work this morning before sun up, and by 9 A. M. had distributed 20,000 pages of tracts. Several have professed religion, and the Lord's blessing seems to be on us.’

Rev. J. A. Hughes thus speaks of his labors at Atlanta: ‘In going among the thousands in the hospitals, I have met with many things to gladden my heart, and to cause me to love the work. I find a number of Christians; some tell me that camp-life has had a very unfavorable influence on their religious character; others say it has been of great service to them, that it has bound them closer to the Saviour, made them more acquainted with their own weakness and sins, and afforded them a fine field in which to labor for the souls of their fellow-men. Some few hesitate to take a Testament, though they will accept a tract. One man positively refused a Testament but took the tract, “A mother's parting words to her soldier boy,” by the reading of which he was deeply moved and became a true penitent, asked me to pray for him, and finally died in the triumphs of faith. To a young man who felt himself a sinner I gave “Motives to Early piety.” He was led to Christ, whom he publicly confessed. A soldier said to me on the street, “You are the gentleman who gave me a tract the other day. I had read it before, at home, but never has the reading of that book so affected me as of late; away from home and friends, it is doubly sweet.” Three have professed conversion from reading, “Why will ye die?” several from reading “A mother's parting words.” A soldier told me “The call to prayer” had roused him to a sense of his duty as a professor of religion.’

Lately a colporteur at Lauderdale Springs, Miss., was distributing tracts, and a captain approached him and asked for one. ‘Select for yourself, captain,’ said he. The captain looked over them, and selected ‘Don't Swear,’ and began to read it aloud to the soldiers standing around, pausing occasionally to comment on the points made in the tract. When he had finished, he exclaimed, ‘I am done swearing. Take this,’ banding the colporteur a ten-dollar bill, ‘and send it to aid in bringing out another edition of this tract.’

Rev. E. A. Bolles, General Agent of the Bible Societies in South Carolina, said, in speaking of his work in the winter of 1861-62:

‘Three months ago I commenced the work of distribution among the soldiers on our coast under the auspices of the Executive Committee of the South Carolina Bible Convention. During this time several thousand copies of the Scriptures have been given away to needy and grateful soldiers, and thousands of copies are yet needed to meet the demand. I may safely say that twenty thousand copies are needed for distribution among the soldiers on the coast. I therefore earnestly appeal to the benevolent for funds to procure the Scriptures, so that the good work so successfully begun may be continued until every destitute soldier is supplied with the Word of Life.’

To this gentleman the chaplain of the Fifteenth South Carolina Regiment sent an encouraging report of the state of religion in his regiment:

‘The Testaments you sent to me were eagerly sought after by the men, many coming to me long after they were all distributed, and were much disappointed at not receiving one. Could you send us some more they would be thankfully received and faithfully distributed. As almost all the men lost their Bibles on Hilton Head, our regiment is perhaps the most destitute on the coast. I am happy to say there is much religious feeling pervading our regiment, and our nightly prayer-meetings are well attended, and I hope ere long the Lord will bless us with an outpouring of His Holy Spirit.’

To the same the Lieutenant-Colonel of the Tenth South Carolina Regiment wrote: [537]

‘I would be glad if you will supply the regiment to which I am attached with the Scriptures, as I see by the papers that you are engaged in the work of distribution among the soldiers. We prefer Testaments, as they would be much easier for soldiers to carry in their knapsacks. I have made this application to you because of finding that all our men have not Bibles or Testaments, and I consider a soldier poorly equipped without one or the other.’

Dr. Bennett gives the following concerning the battle of Shiloh:

The instances of heroic valor in the battle of Shiloh are abundant. A chaplain, Rev. I. T. Tichenor, of the Seventeenth Alabama Regiment, in a letter to Governor Watts, of that State, who at one time commanded the regiment, says:

“During this engagement we were under a cross fire on the left wing from three directions. Under it the boys wavered. I had been wearied, and was sitting down, but seeing them waver, I sprang to my feet, took off my hat, waved it over my head, walked up and down the line, and, as they say, ‘preached them a sermon.’ I reminded them that it was Sunday. That at that hour (11 1/2 o'clock) all their home folks were praying for them; that Tom Watts—excuse the familiar way in which I employed so distinguished a name—had told us he would listen with an eager ear to hear from the Seventeenth; and shouting your name loud over the roar of battle, I called upon them to stand there and die, if need be, for their country. The effect was evident. Every man stood to his post, every eye flashed, and every heart beat high with desperate resolve to conquer or die. The regiment lost one-third of the number carried into the field.”

‘Among the Christian soldiers that fell was Lieutenant-Colonel Holbrook, of a Kentucky regiment. He was mortally wounded, and fell at the head of his regiment in a victorious charge. After the battle, several of his officers came to see him in the hospital. He was dying fast, but desired to be propped up in bed, and then he talked with them like a Christian soldier: “Gentlemen, in the course of my official duties with you I have had little or no occasion to speak to you upon the subject of religion, but this is a time when, as fellow-men, we may commune frankly together. And I desire to bear witness to the fact that I am at the present moment deriving all my strength and consolation from the firm reliance which I have upon the blessings of religion. I know I am not prepared for death, as I ought to have been, and as I hope you may be, but I feel safe in reposing upon the strong arm of God, and trusting to Him for my future happiness. Before this war is closed, some of you may be brought upon the threshold of the eternal world, as I have been, and my earnest prayer is that the messenger of death may find you waiting. Throughout my existence, I have found nothing in my experience that has afforded me more substantial happiness than Christianity, and I now, as I lie here conscious that life is waning, desire to bear testimony of a peaceful mind, of a firm faith in the grand scheme of salvation. Farewell, my comrades, may we all meet in a better world.” ’

One of the rarest instances of youthful heroism that ever occurred is recorded in connection with this battle. Charlie Jackson, whose brief career as a soldier and whose happy death we place here upon permanent record, was worthy of the great name he bore:

‘Some months ago,’ says a writer, Charlie's father raised a company of soldiers, in which he was permitted to drill with the privates, and finally became so expert in the manual of arms that, young as he was, he was chosen the drill-master. In due time, marching orders were received. Then the father, consulting the age of his boy, and probably his own paternal feelings, gave him to understand that it was his wish he should remain at home. To this Charlie strenuously demurred, and plainly told his parent that if he could not go with him he would join another company. Yielding to his obstinacy, a sort of silent consent was given, and the lad left Memphis with his comrades. The regiment to which they belonged was detached to Burnsville, several miles distant from Corinth, and here it remained until [538] the Friday or Saturday preceding the battle. Orders were then received that it should repair at once to the field and take its position. Charlie was asleep at the time of the departure, and the father, unwilling that one so young should undergo the fatigue of the long march of twenty miles and the dangers of the coming fight, gave orders that he should not be disturbed. Several hours after the boy awoke of his own accord.

At a glance, his eye took in the condition of affairs, and his knowledge of coming events satisfied him of the cause. With him, to think was to act. He seized his little gun—a miniature musket which his father had made for him, and alone started on the trail of his absent regiment. Hour after hour he trudged along, and finally, just as they were about halting preparatory to going into battle, he succeeded in joining his company. He had travelled more than fifteen miles. His father chided him, but how could he do otherwise than admire the indomitable spirit of his boy? The battle commenced. Charlie took his place by his father's side, and was soon in the thickest of the fight. A bullet struck him in the body and lore an ugly wound. Still he pressed on, firing, cheering, and charging with the remainder of his regiment. He seemed not to know the sensation of fear, and his youthful example on more than one occasion was the rallying point from which the men took fresh spirit. Suddenly, at a late hour in the day, the little fellow fell shot through the leg a few inches below the hip. He gave a cheer and told his father to go on. “Don't mind me,” said he, “but keep on; I'll lie here till you come back.” This of course the feelings of the parent would not permit him to do, and picking him up in his arms, he carried him to the nearest hospital. Within a day or two Charlie was brought to his home in Memphis, feeble, yet full of hope and courage.

Dr. Keller was called upon to examine the wound and, if necessary, to perform amputation; but at a glance his experienced eye saw that the poor boy was beyond the hope of recovery. Mortification had set in, and an operation would only increase his sufferings without prolonging life. The lad noticed the sober countenance of the physician as he turned away and went to an adjoining room to break the mournful intelligence to the weeping father and mother. Nothing could be done but to relieve him of pain by means of opiates.

A few moments afterwards he returned to the bedside of the sufferer, when the young hero abruptly met him with the question—

Doctor, will you answer me a straightforward question, and tell me the truth?”

The physician paused a moment, and then said:

“Yes, Charlie, I will; but you must prepare for bad news.”

“Can I live?” was the response.

“No! Nothing can save you now but a miracle from heaven.”

“Well, I have thought so myself. I have felt as if I was going to die. Do father and mother know this?”

“Yes,” replied the surgeon. “I have just told them.”

“Please ask them to come in here.”

When the parents had done so, and taken their places on either side of the bed, Charlie reached out, grasped their hands in his, and said:

“Dear father and mother, Dr. Keller says that I can't live. And now I want to ask your forgiveness for all wrong I have done. I have tried to be a good boy in every way but one, and that was when I disobeyed you both and joined the army. I couldn't help that, for I felt as if I ought to be right where you were, father, and to fight as long as I was able. I'm only sorry that I can't fight through the war. If I have said anything wrong or done anything wrong, won't you forgive me?”

The afflicted parents could only weep their assent.

“Now, father,” continued the boy, “one thing more. Don't stay here with me, but go back to camp. Mother will take care of me, and your services are more [539] necessary in your company than they are at home. I am not afraid to die, and I wish I had a thousand lives to lose in the same way. And, father, tell the boys when you get back how I died—just as a soldier ought to. Tell them to fight the

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