member of an independent company of riflemen from Nashville and other towns of our State. My object was to minister to the soldiers in spiritual things, but I remained a private until the organization of the Fourth Tennessee Regiment, Confederate States Army, some weeks after we went into camp at Knoxville, East Tennessee. I was then elected chaplain. Colonel Wm. M. Churchwell was in command of the regiment, and General F. R. Zollicoffer of the brigade. I began work at once by preaching as often as opportunities offered, and holding prayer meetings from tent to tent, and visiting the sick at the hospitals. Measles prevailed; many soldiers contracted the disease; the hospital provision was very deficient, and the mortality was great. Our brigade was composed of the Fifteenth Mississippi, Eleventh and Twentieth Tennessee State troops, and Fourth Tennessee Confederate. I remember no chaplain of the Mississippi regiment, but each of the Tennessee regiments had chaplains —Rev. F. E. Pitts, D. D., Eleventh, Rev. John A. Edmondson, Twentieth; and Rev. P. G. Jamison and Rev. J. G. Bolton were privates in the Eleventh Tennessee, and while doing good service as soldiers, they were “instant in season and out of season” as soldiers of the Cross, very few in the army proving more faithful throughout the entire war than did John G. Bolton, who won the confidence of his comrades and kept it for four years because of his fidelity to Christ and his country. The chaplains of the Eleventh and Twentieth I think concluded the camp was not the place for them as chaplains, and Dr. Pitts returned home and raised a regiment, of which he took the command, and Rev. J. A. Edmondson resigned and returned home. The five preachers mentioned, and Rev. Geo. D. Guiner, Lieutenant Fourth Tennessee, were members of the Tennessee Conference. Our brigade marched into Eastern Kentucky under General Zollicoffer, who was unfortunate in both encounters under his command, and the noble-hearted man lost his life the first year of the war at Fishing Creek, Kentucky. The Fourth and Eleventh Tennessee Regiments were ordered to Cumberland Gap, where we established comfortable winter quarters. The soldiers did not take interest enough in religious services to prepare a place of public worship. But whenever the weather was at all favorable we had service for all who were disposed to attend. Very few of the commissioned officers were religious. The large proportion of the soldiers were wicked and many were reckless. For more than a year very few manifested any desire to become Christians save the sick or wounded. So indifferent were the soldiers that many chaplains very naturally concluded that the army was not a field for ministerial success or usefulness, and the second year of the war found many regiments and some brigades in our army without chaplains. I was alone a portion of the time at Cumberland Gap, and my congregations were generally small; yet I preached as regularly as at all practicable to any and all soldiers who came that way, infantry, cavalry and artillery, and looked very carefully after the sick and dying. After the battle at Fishing Creek, Kentucky, the Fifteenth Mississippi and Twentieth Tennessee Regiments were transferred from our brigade, which was commanded by General Stevenson, of Virginia. But the Thirty-sixth Tennessee and the Twenty-ninth North Carolina Regiments supplied their place. I was glad to find Rev. E. C. Wexler, of the Holston Conference, a man of ability, chaplain of the latter or the Twenty-ninth North Carolina Regiment. Our association for the ensuing months of 1862 were very intimate, and I found him a very true and faithful servant of God. He died during the war. Colonel Vance, of the Twenty-ninth North Carolina Regiment, was one of the most exemplary Christian soldiers in camp. He took great interest in camp worship and did much to aid his chaplain and others who labored for the salvation of the soldiers. He has served his State in Congress since the war, and has recently published a book of poems. The only time during the war that I knew not that it was Sunday till late in the day was
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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