answered the double purpose of church and school.
Some few were taught to read and write.
I remember one poor fellow, who said to me: ‘Oh!
chaplain, if you will just teach me how to read, so that I can read God's word, and how to write, so that I can write to my wife, there is nothing in this world I will not do for you,’ and I shall never forget what a proud fellow he was when in a very short time he had learned both to read his Bible and write to his wife.
But I met during the four years of the war very few Confederate soldiers who could not read and write, and the schools established were generally for the study of Latin, Greek
, mathematics, French, German, etc. There was, at the University of Virginia, during the session of 1865-66, probably the most brilliant set of students ever gathered there at one time, and many of them were prepared to enter advanced classes by the schools taught in these army chapels by some of the best teachers ever sent out from this grand old university.
The witty editor of the Richmond Christian Advocate
) once said of a certain State: ‘They already have there twelve
“universities;” and at our latest advices they were cutting poles
We did not ‘cut poles’ for ‘universities;’ but we had in our log chapels schools which, in the extent and thoroughness of their teaching, were greatly superior to many of the so-called ‘universities’ of the land to-day.
I might write very fully of some of the glorious meetings we held in these chapels, but I have space for only one characteristic incident of that noble old soldier of the Cross, Rev. Andrew Broaddus
’). He went to labor in one of the brigade chapels in the winter of 1863, when he was told that he could accomplish nothing, as the large theatre which had been erected in the centre of the brigade was ‘drawing’ large crowds, and would seriously diminish his congregations.
But, with his accustomed zeal and pluck, the old man went to work, the Lord
blessed his labors, and soon the chapel was crowded and the theatre deserted.
In the great revival that followed, the owners of the theatre and some of the actors, professed conversion, the ‘plays’ were suspended, and Brother Broaddus was invited to hold his services in the theatre, as that was a larger and more comfortable building than the chapel.
He readily consented to do so, and begun his first service by saying, in his own quaint way: ‘My friends, I am only a plain old country Baptist
preacher, and have been opposing theatres all of my life.