may be cited as an illustration of their eagerness to hear the Gospel.
When we went into winter-quarters along the Manassas lines
in the winter of 1861-62, a few of the commands had well constructed chapels.
I think the first one was built in the Seventeenth Virginia Regiment, of which my old university friend, Rev. John L. Johnson
(now the distinguished Professor
of English in the University of Mississippi), was chaplain.
There was one also in the Tenth Virginia Infantry, of which Rev. S. S. Lambeth
, of the Virginia
Methodist Conference, was chaplain.
In the Thirteenth Virginia Infantry we had a chapel and ‘parsonage’ under the same roof, and a well-selected circulating library, which proved a great comfort and blessing to the men. Down on the Rappahannock
the next winter there were a still larger number of chapels.
I remember especially a large and very comfortable one in the ‘Stonewall
’ Brigade, which General Jackson
was accustomed to attend, and where I had the privilege of preaching one Sunday to a deeply attentive congregation, and of watching with great interest the world-famous chief as he ‘played usher’ until the men were all seated, and then listened with glistening eyes to the old-fashioned Gospel in which he so greatly delighted.
But the chapel-building reached its climax along the Rapidan
in the winter of 1863-64, and along the Richmond
and Petersburg lines in the winter of 1864-65.
The great revival which swept through our camps on the return of the army from the Gettysburg campaign
, and which resulted in the professed conversion of thousands and the quickened zeal of Christians generally, naturally produced a desire to have houses of worship during the winter.
As soon as we went into winter-quarters the cry was raised in wellnigh every command: ‘We must have a chapel.’
No sooner said than done.
The men did not wait to finish their own quarters before they went to work on ‘the church.’
They did not take months, weeks, days, or even hours, to discuss ‘plans and specifications.’
They held no ‘fairs’ or ‘feasts’—a scanty feast their larders would have afforded—and they sent out no agents to collect money from ‘friends at a distance.’
Better than all this, they divided into suitable parties, and, with strong arms and glad hearts, they went to work themselves.
Their axes rang through the woods—some cut logs for the body of the