the revivals in the Army of Tennessee, during our late civil war, I now attempt to comply. And since you wish me to tell of things that came within my own knowledge, I shall, of necessity, have to speak of matters “Quorum pars fui,” if not “pars magna.” Let the charitable reader receive this as my apology for any seeming egotism that may crop out in this communication. I connected myself with the Army of Tennessee in the summer of 1862, when preparations were being made to march into Kentucky. Up to this time there had been very little religious interest in this army. The war spirit had absorbed well nigh every other interest. Chaplains were few, and not in great demand. Early in 1862 I received “authority” from the War Department at Richmond, Virginia, to “raise a regiment for the service.” When this fact became known, a number of companies met at “Big Shanty,” near Marietta, Georgia, the drill camp for volunteers, and formed on my name and authority. This occurred without any effort on my part. At this point matters began to look serious. What could I do with a regiment of soldiers? I had never studied military tactics for an hour; and all my study had been to make men live, not to kill them. After earnest prayer, I decided that I was already “engaged in a great work, and could not come down,” and that others might have all the military honors, while I would be content to preach the gospel. I have never regretted that decision. The command to which I was attached belonged to General E. Kirby Smith's Corps, which formed the right wing of General Bragg's invading force. Leaving Knoxville, we crossed the Cumberland Mountain, and entered “the civilized part of Kentucky” at “Big Hill.” Our advance division swept everything before it, so that our brigade and one or two others took no part in the battles, or rather skirmishes, which opened the way to the heart of the famous “Blue Grass region” — “the country of Kings,” as I then thought; nor have I materially modified my view of it since. The almost continuous marching and countermarching of our troops left little for the chaplains to do save to administer to the wants of the sick, and to keep up with their commands. While our commanding general was engaged in inaugurating a governor for the State of Kentucky, the Federal general was massing his troops at different points with the view of cutting off his retreat south. These movements resulted in the battle at Perryville, under auspices singularly unfavorable to our forces. After this battle, General Bragg began his retreat, and within a week or such a matter we were temporarily beyond the enemy's reach; and our army next concentrated at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. During the Kentucky campaign, I conceived the idea of publishing a paper designed especially for the soldiers; repairing to Atlanta, I made arrangements for issuing it, and called it The Soldier's Friend. The paper was designed to elevate its readers, and especially to benefit them religiously. Few issues of the paper were made till after the bloody battle of Murfreesboro had been fought, and our army had gone into winter-quarters at and near Tulahoma. Many thousands of the paper were scattered among the troops during this winter of 1863, when for the first time in the history of this army a genuine and very general revival of religion prevailed among our soldiers. In this glorious work the writer was permitted to take part through the instrumentality of his paper only; his time being occupied in editorial work and in preaching and administering to the sick and wounded in the hospitals in Atlanta. It was greatly to my advantage in my labors for the soldiers that I had a chaplain's commission without “assignment” to any particular place or command. It served me as a passport to any point within the limits of the Confederacy. This favor was procured through the influence of my highly esteemed friend, General John B. Gordon. As the spring of 1863 approached, and the Union forces began to concentrate
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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