He, of course, went at once to the place and preached to deeply interested men, who stood in snow several inches deep, and among the number he counted fourteen barefooted men
, besides scores whose shoes afforded very little protection from the snow.
Many times have I seen barefooted men attending prayer-meeting or preaching in the snow or during the coldest weather of winter.
I went one day to meet an appointment in Davis
's Mississippi Brigade, which had lost their winter-quarters and comfortable chapel, south of Orange Court House
, by being ordered on picket-duty near the Rapidan
A steady rain was falling, and I went with no idea of being able to preach, but hoping to meet a few of the inquirers under their rude shelters, that I might point them to ‘the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.’
To my surprise, as I rode up, I heard a volume of sacred song ascending from the usual place of worship, and found a large congregation assembled on the rude logs.
I told them that while I was willing to preach to them, I would not ask them to remain in the rain—that I would take it as no discourtesy if they left, and rather thought that they ought
to do so. Not a man stirred, and I preached forty minutes in a constant rain to as attentive a congregation as I ever addressed.
The men used to say: ‘We go on picket; we march and fight, and do all other military duty in any weather that comes, and we cannot see why we should allow the weather to interrupt our religious privileges.’
Our brethren who in these days are accustomed to stay from church if it rains or snows, or looks like it might do so in the course of a week
, would do well to study the example and catch the spirit of these soldiers.
At first the popular impression, even among the chaplains, was that but little could be done during an active campaign except in the hospitals.
But it soon appeared that the faithful chaplain who would stick to his post and watch for opportunities—who was ready to resign his horse to some poor fellow with bare and blistered feet while he marched in the column as it hurried forward—who went with his men on picket—who bivouacked with them in the pelting storm—and who went with them into the leaden and iron hail of battle—who, in a word, was ready to share their hardships and dangers—such a man had, during the most active campaign, golden opportunities of pointing