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 Yankees
as long as there is one left in the country, and never give up
! Whenever you fill up the company with new men, let them know that besides their country there's a little boy in heaven who will watch them and pray for them as they go into battle.”
And so is dying one of the bravest spirits that was ever breathed into the human body by its Divine Master.
The scene I have described is one of which we sometimes read, but rarely behold, and the surgeon told me that, inured as he was to spectacles of suffering and woe, as he stood by this, a silent spectator, his heart overflowed in tears and he knelt down and sobbed like a child.
How true are the lines of the poet—
The good die first,
And they whose hearts are dry as summer's dust,
Burn to the socket.
From this, and other battles, the hospitals were filled with thousands of sick and wounded men, among whom there were the most cheering evidences of true religious feeling.
Rev. B. B. Ross
, of Alabama
, who gladly gave himself to the work of colportage, says of his labors:
‘I visited Corinth
, the hospitals, and some of the camps, and am glad to report that the soldiers are very greedy for all kinds of religious reading-take the tracts from the agent with delight, and read them with avidity, and, whenever he sees proper to drop a word of admonition or warning, listen to it with patience and respect.
But this is especially so in the hospitals.’
From Okolona, Mississippi
, Rev. J. T. C. Collins
wrote to Mr. Ross
‘The soldiers received the books with great eagerness.
I never in all my life saw such a desire to get Bibles.
Every ward I went into they would beg me for Bibles and Testaments
. While they gladly received the other books, they wanted Bibles
. I have been to every man's cot and left either a book or a tract.
And when I revisited them, and asked how they liked the books, my heart was greatly cheered by the accounts they gave me. One said he had been improving ever since he had gotten something to interest his mind.
Another said, while a friend was reading for him the 14th chapter of John (a chapter to which I had called his attention), he was blessed and made very happy.
He is now dead—went safely home.’
A chaplain gave this pleasing testimony:
‘Religious reading is highly appreciated by the soldiers; and what few tracts we can get are carefully read, and many tears have been seen to run down the soldier's face while reading these friendly visitors.
They do not wait for me to go out to distribute them, but come to my tent inquiring, “Have you any more tracts to spare?”
There have been two conversions in the regiment.
The soldiers were sick at the time, and one of them has since “gone to his long home,” but felt before he died it was much the best for him to go, that “he would be in a better world,” where wars and rumors of wars would no more mar his peace.’
records of the autumn of 1862:
The revival, at this period of the war, was undoubtedly greater and more glorious in the army in Virginia than in other portions of the Confederacy, but there were happy signs of spiritual life among the troops in the far South and West.
On Sullivan's Island, near Charleston, S. C., there was a blessed work of grace, which powerfully checked the ordinary vices of the camp and brought many souls into the fold of the Good Shepherd.
Speaking of this work, in a letter of October 9, Rev. E. J. Meynardie, chaplain of Colonel Keitts's Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers, says: