God shines through the smoke of battle with the light that leads to heaven; and the camp becomes a school of Christ.
From the very first day of the unhappy contest to the present time, religious influences have been spreading among the soldiers, until now, in camp and hospital, throughout every portion of the army, revivals display their precious, saving power.
In one of these revivals over three hundred are known as having professed conversion, while, doubtless, there are hundreds of others equally blessed, whose names, unrecorded here, find a place in the ‘Lamb's book of life.’
And in 1865, in reviewing the blessed work of saving souls amid the bloody scenes of four gloomy years, the board said:
Millions of pages of tracts have been put in circulation, and thousands of sermons delivered by the sixty missionaries whom we have sent to our brave armies.
If it could be known by us here and now how many souls have been saved by this agency, doubtless the announcement would fill us with surprise and rejoicing.
Hundreds and thousands, we verily believe, have in this way obtained the Christian's hope, and are now occupying some place in the great vineyard of the Lord, or have gone up from the strife and sorrow of earth to the peaceful enjoyments of the heavenly home.
The Evangelical Tract Society, organized in the city of Petersburg, Virginia, in July, 1861, by Christians of the different denominations, was a most efficient auxiliary in the great work of saving souls.
It was ably officered, and worked with great success in the publication and circulation of some of the best tract-reading that appeared during the war. More than a hundred different tracts were issued; and in less than one year after the organization of the society, it had sent among the soldiers more than a million pages of these little messengers of truth.
The Army and Navy Messenger, a most excellent religious paper, was also published by this society, and circulated widely and with the best results among the soldiers.
Holding a position similar to that of the American Tract Society, this association was liberally sustained by all denominations, and had ample means for supplying the armies with every form of religious reading, from the Holy Scriptures to the smallest one-page tract.
Its officers, editors, agents, and colporters were among the most faithful, zealous, and successful laborers in all departments of the army,