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Chapter 7: work of the chaplains and missionaries.

Unquestionably one of the most potent factors in the grand success of our work was the union of hearts and hands on the part of chaplains and missionaries, and indeed of all Christian workers of the evangelical denominations.

The gifted and lamented Dr. Wm. J. Hoge thus wrote of a visit he made to Fredericksburg in the spring of 1863, during the great revival in Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade: ‘The Rev. Dr. Burrows, of the First Baptist Church, Richmond, was to have preached that night, but as he would remain some days and I could only stay a day, he courteously insisted on my preaching. And so we had a Presbyterian sermon, introduced by Baptist services, under the direction of a Methodist chaplain, in an Episcopal church. Was not that a beautiful solution of the vexed problem of Christian union?’

This was but a type of what was usual all through the army. No one was asked or expected to compromise in the least the peculiar tenets of the denomination to which he belonged; but, instead of spending our time in fierce polemics over disputed points, we found common ground upon which we could stand shoulder to shoulder and labor for the cause of our common Master. Bound together by the sacred ties of a common faith in Jesus, a common hope of an inheritance beyond the skies, and a common desire to bring our brave men to Christ and to do all within our power to promote their spiritual interests, we mingled together in freest intercourse, took sweet counsel together, preached and prayed and labored together, and formed ties of friendship—nay, of brotherhood—which time can never sever, and which, we firmly believe, eternity will only purify and strengthen. It was our custom, when men professed faith in Christ, to take their names and ask what Church they desired to join, and, if there was no minister present of that denomination, we would promptly send for one.

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