to correspond with pastors suited to the work and endeavor to engage them to labor as voluntary evangelists in the army, and that the board defray their expenses.’
: That this board be instructed, in connection with other boards which may deem such a measure important for their interests, to inquire into the expediency of deputing some suitable brother to visit Europe
, for the purpose of procuring Bibles, books, tracts and any other appliances that may aid the general usefulness of such boards; and, if deemed expedient, be authorized to make arrangements therefor.’
During 1862 and 1863 alone this Sunday-school and Publication Board collected for army colportage $84,000. It published and distributed in the army 30,187,000 pages of tracts, 31,000 Bibles and Testaments, 14,000 ‘Camp Hymns,’ and thousands upon thousands of religious books sent by the people from their homes, and religious papers without number.
During 1864 sixty colporters were kept at work in the army.
These were kept supplied with tracts, Bibles and Testaments, but for this year the exact records have been lost.
I regret that I have been unable to obtain fuller and more exact reports of the other Bible and tract societies; but the following clippings from war files of the religious newspapers give the most interesting details of the spirit with which our people engaged in the work, and the wonderful success which crowned their efforts.
‘The annual report of the Southern Methodist Episcopal Soldiers
' Tract Association for 1863 shows a receipt during the year of $95,456.71, and a disbursement of $64,470.60. The association has issued for circulation 7,000,000 pages of tracts, 45,000 soldiers' hymn books, 15,000 soldiers' almanacs, 15,000 Bible readings for soldiers; and has circulated 15,000 copies of the Holy Scriptures
—Bibles, Testaments and Gospels separately bound, 50,000 copies of The Soldier's Paper
and 20,000 copies of The Army and Navy Herald
The Petersburg Express
says: ‘When the war commenced, the Baptists of Virginia
were extensively engaged in the work of colportage.
They were soon impressed with the importance of employing this powerful agency in circulating the Scriptures and religious books in the army.
After a few months' labor it was found that the colporters were highly esteemed by the soldiers, and Rev. A. E. Dickinson
was instructed by the General Association ’