“On Thursday evening, 25th ult., the religious interest, which for some time had been quite apparent, became so deep and manifest that I determined to hold a series of meetings, during which, up to last night, ninety-three applied for membership in the various branches of the Church, nearly all of whom profess conversion. Every night the church at which we worship was densely crowded, and obvious seriousness pervaded the congregation. To the invitation to approach the altar for prayer prompt and anxious responses were made; and it was indeed an unusual and impressive spectacle to behold the soldiers of the country, ready for battle, and even for death on the battle-field, bowed in prayer for that blessing which the warrior, of all others, so much needs. God was with us most graciously, and it was a period of profound interest and great joy.” The influence of this meeting has pervaded the regiment, and is still operating most beneficially. To what extent it has improved the morals of the soldiers it is impossible to estimate. Suffice it to say, that it has struck at the very root of camp vices, and the great crime which is more frequently committed in the army, against God and common decency, than any other, hides its hideous head—I mean profanity. The testimony of a soldier who writes for the Southern Lutheran is: “When we first came into camp, swearing was a common practice; but now, thank God, an oath is seldom heard. Our men seem to feel as if they ought to be more observant of God's law.” The Church of Christ is very strongly represented in the regiment. We have many praying men; and indeed a more quiet, orderly, and religiously-disposed body of troops cannot, I presume, be found in the service; and be assured that when the time for fighting comes, beneath the banner of the Cross and our country's flag, we shall present an unflinching front. It was the religious fanaticism of Cromwell's puritanic army which made it invincible. It is the genuine religious tone of Jackson's which, under a pious commander, has thus far rendered it unconquerable, and we trust that the powerful religious element in this command will inspire sentiments of the highest order of patriotism when the occasion comes for every man to stamp himself a hero!Alluding to the battle of Perryville and its incidents, a chaplain writes: Many a Christian hero fell in this sanguinary battle, but among them all none offered a purer life on the altar of his country than Thomas Jefferson Koger, of Alabama. He was a pious, zealous, eminently useful minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and for nearly twenty years had been a member of the Alabama Conference. At the close of his term as Presiding Elder on the Columbus District he entered the army of the South as a private in the ranks, but was afterward appointed chaplain. In reference to his entrance upon a military life, exchanging the quiet round of ministerial duties for the bustle and toil of a soldier's life, we must let him speak in his own vindication, if any be needed. In a letter to his dear friend, Rev. O. R. Blue, he says: “I go from a deliberate conviction that it is my duty to go. It is under these feelings alone I leave my family. I go, trusting in God to bless and prosper me in the just cause. Pray for me.” To his wife, writing from Bowling Green, he says: “As to the cause of my absence, I think there need be no apprehension. There is as much need of preachers and preaching here as in any place I have ever been yet; and I try to maintain my place as a Christian minister as earnestly and heartily as I ever did. It is a mistake to suppose that men in arms are beyond the reach and influence of the gospel. They are not; and the gospel is the only refining and elevating influence operating on them. Wife, children, home and its endearments, are only sweet memories here—not actual restraints, as they are when present. And then, the sick are always open to religious impressions.” At the expiration of the term of service of the regiment which he served as chaplain, he returned home, and at once set to work to raise a company for the war.
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