Chapter 4: influence of Christian officers—concluded.
The number and influence of Christian officers in our army is a chapter which expands so widely as one comes to write it, that I find myself compelled to condense much of the material that it may be brought within proper limits; but there are other facts which must not be omitted.
General J. E. B. Stuart
, Chief of Cavalry
, Army of Northern Virginia, has been called ‘the flower of cavaliers,’ the ‘Prince Rupert’ of the Confederacy
, and ‘Harry of Navarre,’ and he has been described as a gay, rolicksome, laughing soldier, ‘always ready for a dance or a fight.’
And yet Stuart
was an humble, earnest Christian
, who took Christ
as his personal Saviour, lived a stainless life, and died a triumphant death.
He used to attend our Chaplains' Association when he could, took a deep interest in its proceedings, and manifested the liveliest concern for the spiritual welfare of his men.
Not long before his lamented death he sought a personal interview with me, and discussed with great interest and intelligent zeal plans for the better supply of the cavalry with chaplains and religious reading.
He spoke of the active life the cavalry were compelled to lead, as at the same time a serious obstacle to regular services among them and an increased necessity for having men of God who would follow them on their rapid marches, or carry the bread of life to them on the outposts.
He was especially anxious to get an efficient man at his Headquarters, who could always be found when a preacher was needed, and made a very liberal offer for the comfort and support of such an one.
But he was very emphatic in saying:
I do not want a man who is not both able and willing to endure hardness as a good soldier.
The man who cannot endure the fatigues, hardships and privations of our rough riding and hard service, and be in place when needed, would be of no earthly use to us, and is not wanted at my Headquarters.