a dry eye in the vast throng, and the tears of generals, colonels and captains mingled freely with those of the rank and file.
I never heard Dr. Broadus
preach with more power, and I do not believe that he ever did.
In an appeal for more preachers to come to the army, published in the Religious Herald
about the 1st of September, 1863, Dr. Broadus
thus writes: ‘It is impossible to convey any just idea of the wide and effectual door that is now opened for preaching in the Army of Northern Virginia. . . . In every command that I visit, or hear from, a large proportion of the soldiers will attend preaching and listen well; and in many cases the interest is really wonderful. . . . A much larger proportion of the soldiers attend preaching in camp than used to attend at home; and when any interest is awakened the homogeneity and fellowfeel-ing which exists among them may be a powerful means, as used by the Divine Spirit
, of diffusing that interest through the whole mass.
Brethren, there is far more religious interest in this army than at home.
The Holy Spirit seems everywhere moving among us. These widespread camps are a magnificent collection of camp-meetings.
Brethren, it is the noblest opportunity for protracted meetings you ever saw. The rich, ripe harvest stands waiting.
Come, brother, thrust in your sickle, and, by God's blessing, you shall reap golden sheaves that shall be your rejoicing in time and eternity.’
We made it a rule to preach at least once every day during this period, and many of us for weeks together averaged two sermons a day to congregations of from one to three thousand listeners.
I remember that at one and the same time I had the general conduct of four
protracted meetings in four brigades (Gordon
's North Carolina
, and Smith
's Virginia), and attended a service in each every day; and that on several occasions I baptized two, three and four times (at different points) without changing my clothes.
(The plain truth was that I had
change, and considered myself fortunate in having that.)
As illustrating how men would come out to preaching under difficulties, one of the chaplains reported that one Sunday in the early winter of 1863 there came a fall of snow, which he supposed would entirely break up his Sunday service, as they had no chapel; but, at the appointed hour, he heard singing at their usual place of worship, and looking out he saw that a large congregation