Chapter 11: the great revival along the Rapidan.The march to Gettysburg, the great battle and fearful loss of many of our noblest and best officers and men, very seriously interfered with our regular meetings, but by no means suppressed the spirit of revival, which really deepened until, when we came back to rest for a season along the Rapidan, the ‘Great Revival’ began with all of its power and made wellnigh every camp vocal with the praises of our God. A large number of our most efficient chaplains felt it to be their duty to remain with our wounded at Gettysburg, and were (contrary to the ‘cartel’ and the usage of civilized warfare) thrown into prison, thus depriving their men of their services at a most important juncture. But the different denominations sent to the army a number of missionaries and colporters, many of the pastors came on visits to the camp, the chaplains present were stirred up to double diligence by the circumstances which surrounded us, and invaluable coworkers were found among Christian officers and men. At Winchester, as the army was returning from the Gettysburg campaign, my regiment acted as provost-guard and I had opportunity, in the hospitals and in some special services which we held in several of the Churches, of coming in contact with representatives of nearly every brigade, and of learning that there was a very decidedly hopeful religious feeling throughout the army. We were exceedingly fortunate in having as preachers in our meetings and workers among the soldiers at Winchester, besides our chaplains, such men as Drs. Wm. J. Hoge, Wm. F. Broaddus, J. A. Broadus, J. L Burrows, etc., and there was every prospect of a general revival among the troops around Winchester, when we took up the line of march across the mountains. [It was on this march that our honored brother, Dr. J. L. Burrows, walked the ninety-two miles from Winchester to Staunton, and, putting his coat in one of the ambulances, had it stolen from him by some  miscreant. Arriving in Harrisonburg on Sunday morning in his shirt-sleeves, with his suspenders strapped over his blue worsted shirt, he thought he would quietly slip into the Presbyterian church and, preserving his incog., hear a sermon from the pastor. But some one recognized and reported him, the pastor insisted upon his preaching, and at last the good doctor (who never knew how to say ‘No!’ when anybody wants work out of him) yielded his objections—saying: ‘Well! if you and your people can stand my filling your pulpit in this garb, I reckon I can’—and, mounting the pulpit, preached what some of his friends pronounced the most powerful sermon they ever heard from him. By the way, our gifted and loved brother, who has done so much in every way to endear himself to Christian people of every name, has no brighter record of a faithful, useful service than that made by his self-sacrificing labors among our soldiers, and will have no brighter stars in his ‘crown of rejoicing’ than those won to Christ by his efforts among ‘the boys in gray.’] A few days after his arrival in Winchester, Rev. Dr. J. A. Broadus thus wrote to Superintendent Dickinson: ‘I am very glad I came to Virginia and came to Winchester. Though there are not such opportunities for preaching as there were some months ago at Fredericksburg, yet I meet a hearty welcome and rejoice in the work. My heart warms towards the soldiers. How they do listen to preaching. The Lord be thanked for the privilege of telling them about Jesus; the Lord prosper all who labor to save them.’ Two weeks later he wrote as follows:
A writer from the army says: ‘I wish all the members of our Churches could be here and hear how fervently the soldiers pray that the revival of religion in the army may reach the Churches at home; that their brethren at home may be turned from the sins of extortion and speculation; and that all may be brought to humble themselves before God.’
‘A majority of the Thirty-second Mississippi Regiment are Church-members.’ 
By the first of August General Lee's army was camped along the line of the Rapidan (from Liberty Mills, above Orange Court House, to Raccoon Ford, below), and God blessed us with ‘seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord’ in nearly every camp.  A large volume would scarcely suffice to record the details of this great revival, and I can only give here a few illustrations as specimens of the whole character of the work. From the 1st of August to the 1st of October I averaged two sermons every day, besides other work, and other chaplains were even more laborious, so pressing were the demands upon us; and I witnessed the professed conversion of hundreds of our brave men. My own brigade (Smith's, formerly Early's Virginia) was fortunately camped near Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church and a Methodist church in the lower part of Orange county, and Rev. J. P. Garland, of the Forty-ninth Virginia, Rev. Mr. Slaughter, of the Fifty-eighth Virginia, and myself united in holding meetings in both of these houses. We were fortunate in having at different times Rev. Dr. J. A. Broadus, Rev. F. M. Barker (the gifted, eloquent and lamented preacher who took in my tent the cold which resulted in his death), Rev. L. J. Haley and others to help us, and the work went graciously on until interrupted, but not stopped, by the ‘Bristoe campaign.’ There were 250 professions of conversion, and a revival among Christians, of the highest value. During this period I had also the general conduct of revival meetings in Hoke's North Carolina Brigade, Gordon's Georgia Brigade, and Hays's Louisiana Brigade—having services at different hours and providing other preachers as I was able—and helped brother-chaplains in a number of other brigades. I had a beautiful baptistery made at the foot of the hill near our camp, and had some of the most impressive baptisms there which I have ever witnessed. My readers will, I trust, pardon me for so frequently reproducing my own letters from the army, but having been written at the time they give a much more accurate picture of the scenes they describe than I could now produce. The following notices the beginning of our work on the Rapidan:
 Rev. L. J. Haley, in a private note, says: ‘There is a great religious interest and revival in the army. It has been my pleasure recently to spend a week with Smith's Brigade, Early's Division. I preached every day while I was with them, and was greatly delighted with my trip. There are religious revivals all over the army. Many are turning to God, and the good work is largely on the increase. The army is undoubtedly the great field for successful labor.’
Rev. J. J. D. Renfroe, chaplain Tenth Alabama Regiment,  writes as follows: ‘We have a splendid protracted meeting in progress in the brigade. About twenty-five have been baptized, and others have joined other Churches and the interest is increasing. I believe that 100 anxious souls presented themselves for prayer last night after the sermon.’ Brother R. W. Cridlin, chaplain Thirty-eighth Virginia Regiment, writes me an interesting account of a work of grace in his brigade. In almost every part of the Army God is at work winning souls to Himself. The cry is, ‘Send us tracts, hymns and Testaments.’ Colporters and evangelists are also in great demand. It cannot be that the people at home will withhold money when it is needed for this work of saving souls—the souls of our brave soldiers.—A. E. D.
A writer from the Army of Northern Virginia to the Biblical Recorder says: ‘I have often heard complaints about the hardships of a soldier's life, but is there a Christian who would not willingly suffer for years all the toils and hardships which a world can heap on the mortal frame, provided he could enjoy again the blessedness of his first moments with Jesus? It does seem to me that the joy of the Christian with an army in the field approaches nearer the essence of true religion than that exhibited under any other circumstances of the present day, when persecution is unknown.’ 
I have already described the scene in this same brigade several weeks later, when at one service 610 came forward for prayer and over 200 professed conversion. I shall continue, instead of a connected narrative, to give letters written at the time, giving accounts of this wonderful work. The chaplain of the Twelfth Tennessee Regiment states ‘that the lieutenant-colonel, adjutant, surgeon, seven captains and thirteen lieutenants are professors of religion; that not a single officer was addicted to profane swearing, card-playing or drunkenness; that a very large proportion of the men as well as officers pray in public, and heartily second any efforts for good; that the regiment has in it the largest Sabbath-school he ever saw; that the number of the faithful has been greatly multiplied, and that there are almost daily accessions to their number.’
Rev. B. T. Lacy writes to the Central Presbyterian from the Army of Northern Virginia: ‘Since the arrival of the army at its present location, about 1,000 have professed faith in Christ, and more than 2,000 are earnestly inquiring the way of salvation.’
A writer in the Southern Presbyterian, from the Army of Northern Virginia, states that since the forces reached their present location, the conversions reported in the Second and Third Corps alone, are at the rate of 200 a week, ‘and the work is widening and deepening, so far as man can judge.’
Rev. Dr. J. C. Granberry, who had at this time been appointed by his Church as one of their missionaries to the army, and whose able sermons and untiring labors were greatly blessed and made for him a warm place in the hearts of the soldiers, thus wrote to the Richmond Christian Advocate, early in September, 1863: ‘I have been employed one month in my new position as a missionary to the army. Brother Evans having been compelled by ill health to resign his appointment, Bishop Early transferred me, at my request, from Ewell's to Longstreet's Corps. I naturally felt a preference to remain with those troops among whom I had labored as a chaplain from almost the commencement of the war. The last four weeks I have been preaching daily, and sometimes twice a day, in the brigades of Pickett's Division. I have never before witnessed such a widespread and powerful religious interest among the soldiers. They crowd eagerly to hear the Gospel, and listen with profound attention. Many hearts have been opened to receive the word of the Lord in every brigade.  It would delight your heart to mark the seriousness, order, and deep feeling which characterize all our meetings. In Armistead's Brigade, where I have been most constantly working in co-operation with Brother Cridlin, a Baptist, and chaplain of the Thirty-eighth Virginia, and with other ministers, there have been some seventy professions of conversion, and the altar is filled morning and night with penitents. The change is manifest in the whole camp. Men have put away their cards; instead of blasphemy, the voice of prayer and the sweet songs of Zion are heard at all hours. There is little gambling, but all seem contented and interested. We have many proofs that it is a genuine and mighty work of grace. Yesterday reminded me of Sabbath at camp-meeting. There reigned here a deeper quiet. Divine services began at an early hour of the morning, and continued into the night with brief intervals. At 9 A. M. Sabbath-school was held under the auspices of the Christian Association. At 10 A. M., 4 and 7 P. M., the congregation met for preaching and other exercises. It was a happy day—a season of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Brother August is conducting an excellent meeting in his regiment. Already there have been forty-two professions of faith, and the work deepens and widens. I have enjoyed the privilege of being with him frequently, and have never seen a revival progress in a more satisfactory and promising manner. The Christian Associations which have recently been organized in the different brigades will, I doubt not, accomplish great good. They furnish an opportunity for the public confession of Christ and the enjoyment of the friendship of saints. They are a nucleus for lay co-operation with the chaplains, or lay labors in the absence of chaplains. In Kemper's Brigade the revival, which began last spring, still goes on, chiefly under the ministry of Rev. Dr. Pryor, of the Presbyterian Church. He is a most laborious and efficient workman.’ In a circular sent out to the Churches and people by the Chaplains' Association of the first and second corps of General Lee's army, urging hearty co-operation in the work of saving souls, most cheering accounts of the revival were given: ‘The Lord is doing wonderful things for Zion in the ranks of our army. Christians are daily growing in grace and fidelity. Sinners are turning by hundreds to the King of Righteousness and finding that peace which comes by faith; while many are yet seeking the Prince of Life. We believe that, under God's direction,  much of this work has been done by the fraternal intercourse secured by our organization. May the Lord bless you with His Spirit, and give His word prosperity through your instrumentality.’ The religious, and even the secular papers, often filled columns with the news of God's work among the soldiers. The Richmond Christian Advocate said: Not for years has such a revival prevailed in the Confederate States. Its records gladden the columns of every religious journal. Its progress in the army is a spectacle of moral sublimity over which men and angels can rejoice. Such campmeetings were never seen before in America. The bivouac of the soldier never witnessed such nights of glory and days of splendor. The Pentecostal fire lights the camp, and the hosts of armed men sleep beneath the wings of angels rejoicing over many sinners that have repented. The people at home are beginning to feel the kindling of the same grace in their hearts. It is inspiring to read the correspondence, now, between converts in camp and friends at home, and to hear parents praise God for tidings from their absent sons who have lately given their hearts to the Lord. “Father is converted,” says a bright-faced child of twelve years; “ Mamma got a letter to-day, and father says that there is a great revival in his regiment.” The child is too happy to keep her joy to herself. What glorious news from the army is this! This is victory—triumph—peace! This is the token of good which the great King gives to cheer His people. It is the best evidence that prayer is heard, and that the Lord is with us. Let us show ourselves grateful for such grace and “walk worthy of God, who has called us to His kingdom and glory.” Let fervent prayer continue, and patient faith wait on God, “who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” The letters from the converted soldiers were often the means, under God, of awakening an interest in the Churches at home. And back to the army went letters telling how hearts were touched and made truly penitent by reason of the tidings sent from the boys in the tents and trenches.1 Soldiers were converted by thousands every week. From Virginia, Rev. G. R. Talley wrote:  ‘God is wonderfully reviving his work here, and throughout the army. Congregations large—interest almost universal. In our chaplains' meeting it was thought, with imperfect statistics, that about five hundred were converted every week. We greatly need chaplains—men of experience and ministerial influence. Our Regimental Christian Association, as a kind of substitute for a Church, and our Bible-classes, are doing well.’ Under the powerful stimulus of such a revival, the Churches at home redoubled their efforts to supply preachers. In General G. T. Anderson's Georgia Brigade, composed of the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Eleventh, and Fifty-ninth Regiments, the influence of a Soldiers' Christian Association was most powerful for good. ‘It has drawn out and developed,’ says a soldier of the brigade, ‘all the religious element among us. It has created a very pleasant, social feeling among the regiments, and has blended them into one congregation. The three chaplains of the brigade work together, and thus lighten the burdens of each other, and also extend help to the two regiments that are without chaplains. The association now numbers over four hundred members. We recently broke up a camp where, for four weeks, we have enjoyed an unbroken rest; and it has been one long “camp-meeting” —a great revival season—during which we held divine services daily. It has been a time of great joy with us, reviving pure, evangelical religion, and converting many souls. Above eighty members have been added to the association as the fruit of our meeting. A great revolution has been wrought in the moral tone of the brigade. During a part of this time we were assisted by Rev. Mr. Gwin, of Rome, Georgia, of the Baptist Church, and by Rev. Dr. Baird, of Mississippi, of the Presbyterian Church. Their labors were highly appreciated, and were very valuable. The Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Regiments each have Sabbathschools, which are a new and interesting feature in the religious teachings of the army. Much interest is taken in it. Full onethird of my regiment are members of my school.’ In Law's Brigade the work was equally deep and powerful. ‘Last March,’ says a soldier, ‘I was quite sick, and was sent to the hospital in Richmond, Virginia. At that time my regiment (the gallant Fourth Alabama) was extremely wicked. You could scarcely meet with any one who did not use God's name in vain. You could see groups assembled almost in every direction  gambling. I obtained a furlough and returned home to my dear wife and children, who live not far from your city. I returned to my command some two weeks since, and to my surprise and delight I found at least three-fourths of my company not only members of the Church of the living God, but professors of religion. This state of affairs is not limited to my company, but it extends throughout the entire regiment, and I might say the whole brigade (Law's Brigade). God grant that this good work may continue to flourish throughout the entire army.’ Of the work which came under his eye in Ewell's Corps Rev. Dr. Rosser wrote: My plan is, to visit and preach to this corps, division by division, and brigade by brigade—stopping longest where I can do most good, noticing vacancies in the chaplaincy, circulating religious reading as it reaches me, and sympathizing with the sick and wounded soldiers. A nobler work cannot engage the heart of the preacher, or the attention of the Church and nation. I can but glance at the work at this time. The whole army is a vast field, ready and ripe to the harvest, and all the reapers have to do is to go in and reap from end to end. The susceptibility of the soldiery to the Gospel is wonderful, and, doubtful as the remark may appear, the military camp is most favorable to the work of revival. The soldiers, with the simplicity of little children, listen to and embrace the truth. Already over two thousand have professed conversion, and over two thousand more are penitent. The hope of the Church and the country is in our armies, and religion in the army should be a subject of the most serious concern to the Church. That Church that does most for religion during the war will do most for religion when the war is over. Let our Church have an eye to this, and with a holy faith and zeal grasp both the present and the future. Oh, let the shepherds come and gather the lambs in the wilderness! We want our best men here—men of courage, faith, experience—holy men-hard-working men—sympathizing men—selfdenying men—men baptized afresh every day by the Holy Ghost for the work. No place here for slow men, mere reasoners and expositors, however learned or eloquent; war has no time to wait for such men—the soldier has no time to wait for such men-he may die to-morrow. The few men now with us in this corps—and noble men they are—can do but a tithe of  the work required—some of them have the work of a brigade. We want more and the best. Let our Churches be content to spare them. ‘We want vastly more religious reading. Oh, it is affecting to see the soldiers crowd and press about the preacher for what of tracts, etc., he has to distribute, and it is sad to see hundreds retiring without being supplied! One wishes to give himself away to meet the want. While the country is expending hundreds of millions of dollars, and pouring out its blood like water on the altar of patriotism, let the Church be as prominent in devotion and zeal to religion in the army. Let religion rival patriotism in activity. Light up the great camp of war with celestial fire.’ Rev. J. M. Stokes, chaplain Third Georgia, reported to the Southern Christian Advocate:
Zion is flourishing again in this army. There are as many as twenty chapels. We have had a meeting in progress two weeks, and the interest is increasing daily. We have had several conversions, and there were, I reckon, fifty mourners at the altar for prayer last evening. Our chapel seats between 300 and 400, and is full every night unless the weather is very inclement. Rev. B. T. Lacy, chaplain in General Ewell's Corps, visited and preached for us about a week ago. He preached us a most excellent sermon, and gave us much advice and encouragement privately. His visits to the different brigades can but have the most gratifying effect both upon the chaplains and their congregations. I wish we had just such a man to every division to superintend its spiritual matters. There is a great harvest here, which ought to be reaped at once, and if it should pass this season we fear that much of it will be gathered by the enemy of souls.Rev. J. O. A. Cook, chaplain Second Georgia Battalion, Wright's Brigade, wrote:
It would do your heart good to witness our camp-services, to see the immense throngs that crowd our rude chapels, to listen to the soul-stirring music, as with one voice and one heart they unite in singing the sweet songs of Zion, and to note the deep interest and solemn earnestness with which they listen to the preaching of the word. I have never seen anything like it. I can but believe that the blessing of God is upon us, and that He is preparing us for a speedy and glorious peace.  Bible-classes and Sabbath-schools have been organized in many of the brigades. The soldiers are taking great interest in them. We organized our Sabbath-school a few evenings since, beginning with seventy members. There is, however, a want of Bibles. If every family would furnish one of the several Bibles lying about the house the army would be very well supplied.
‘Elder J. E. King, chaplain of the Fourteenth Tennessee Regiment,  within two and a half months, has baptized ninety persons in various divisions of the Army of Northern Virginia.’ At a meeting of the First Baptist Church, Richmond, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted: 1. Resolved, That this Church has received with great joy the tidings of God's merciful dealings with the armies of our country, in bringing many of our soldiers to repentance and salvation; and that we will earnestly pray for the continued success and enlargement of the good work amongst them. ‘2. Resolved, That we regard this gracious dispensation as the voice of God to His slumbering Churches, calling them to renewed zeal and consecration to His cause; and that we will labor and pray that its influence may not be lost upon ourselves or upon those within our reach.’ A minister in the army writes: ‘Our meetings are assuming a new and interesting phase. All the recent converts meet twice a day by themselves, and pray and talk over their wants and necessities to each other, and every one who attends must lead in prayer. It is refreshing to see so many young converts, all in their freshness and vigor, serving the Lord and full of redeeming love.’ Rev. N. B. Cobb, in an account of his visit to the Army of Northern Virginia, gives the following description of a convert whom he met in camp: ‘One of the most wicked and desperate men in camp had been melted down into the gentleness of a little child. Before the Spirit of the Lord touched his heart, his name had been incorporated into a proverb for wickedness. He seemed to be beyond human control. Whenever he got out of camp he would get drunk, and come back or be brought back perfectly furious. When the guard would arrest him he would draw out his bowie knife and endeavor to cut his way through them; and even after he was overpowered and taken to the guard-house he had to be tied down, to keep him from rushing out over the sentinels. But the grace of God had taken hold of him, and entirely changed his nature. The roaring lion had been subdued into the gentle lamb; and it was remarkable that every man in the regiment had perfect confidence in his conversion.’ Elder W. N. Chaudoin, in a letter to the Baptist Banner, from the Army of Northern Virginia, describing his first day in camp, says: ‘The quiet and order of the camp astonished me. I have  seen and heard more confusion on Sabbath, at camp-meeting, than I heard and saw last Sunday in three brigades of soldiers.’
A lady from the vicinity of Gettysburg, whose letter, describing the sufferings of the Confederate wounded left on that field of blood, appears in the Albion, Liverpool, England, says: ‘There were two brothers, one a colonel, the other a captain, lying side by side, and both wounded. They had a Bible between them.’ Rev. J. J. D. Renfroe, in a private letter from the Army of Northern Virginia, to a member of his Church, Talladega, Alabama, says: ‘Were it not for separation from my dear family, I never was so happily situated in my life. I would rather be  in the army than anywhere else. O, it is transporting to see the earnestness with which men enter upon the cause of religion, and the primitive familiarity and simplicity with which they approach each other and the preachers on the subject. And then there is scarcely an hour, but some poor inquiring soul comes to my tent to get instruction. I never saw the like of it before!’
Rev. W. N. Chaudoin reports that during a recent visit to our forces at Franklin, Virginia, he baptized eight persons. Up to the time of his leaving there were nearly fifty professions of conversion. Rev. J. L. Truman says: ‘I spent the greater part of September in protracted meetings, in concert with other ministers. These meetings were attended with great good. At one there were 140 converts, and seventy were baptized. There were converts in all of these meetings. A religious feeling of no ordinary character now prevails in the Army of Northern Virginia.’
‘There is a good degree of religious interest felt in Beckham's Battalion of Artillery, of which I am a member. We have no chaplain, but the brethren of the different denominations keep up a prayer-meeting and Sabbath-school. There have been some twenty-five who have professed conversion in the battalion this fall.’ The revival in Hays's Brigade was one of very great power and happiest results, and originated under circumstances of peculiar interest. A youth of the Ninth Louisiana Regiment named Bledsoe professed conversion in hospital at Charlottesville, under the instructions of Post Chaplain J. C. Hiden, and returned to his brigade; with the burning zeal of the young convert determined to do something for the spiritual good of his comrades. It is no harm to say that Hays' Brigade, though as gallant fellows as ever kept step to the music of ‘Dixie,’ were noted for their irreligion. They had had no chaplains except two Romish priests, who, no doubt, did their duty as they understood it, but were, of course, entirely out of sympathy with evangelical religion as we understand it, and up to this period there had been few, if any, efforts made for the conversion of these brave fellows to the simple faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. Bledsoe hunted diligently through the camp for men who would unite with him in a prayer-meeting, and at last found five others who would agree to do so. These six young soldiers, afraid to begin their meeting in the camp lest they should be interrupted by the jibes and jeers of wicked comrades, went out into a clover field beyond the hearing of their comrades, and began to pray for God's blessing upon themselves and the brigade. The meeting grew nightly in numbers and interest until in about a week Bledsoe came to tell me that a number of men had professed conversion, and they wanted me to go up and take charge of the meeting. I found some 100 in attendance, fifteen professing conversion, and a number of inquirers  after the way of life. The meetings grew in interest, we moved them into the centre of the brigade, and the work went graciously and gloriously on until over 200 professed to find ‘peace in believing.’ Our Chaplains' Association at this period was a continued season of rejoicing, as nearly every chaplain and missionary reported that the Lord was with him in his work. I may not now recall even the names of all the brigades in which revivals were reported, and can enter into very few details in the space at my command. But in August, September, October and November, 1863, revivals were reported in Smith's Virginia, Gordon's Georgia, Mahone's Virginia, Hays's Louisiana, Wright's Georgia, Wilcox's Alabama, Posey's Mississippi, Ramseur's North Carolina, Doles's Georgia, Scales's North Carolina, Thomas's Georgia, J. M. Jones's Virginia, Battle's Alabama, Kemper's Virginia, Armistead's Virginia, Corse's Virginia, Garnett's Virginia, Hoke's North Carolina, Benning's Georgia, Kershaw's South Carolina, Lane's North Carolina, Daniel's North Carolina, Davis's Mississippi, Kirkland's North Carolina, Semmes's Georgia, Barksdale's Mississippi, Jenkins's South Carolina, Law's Alabama, Anderson's Georgia, Steuart's Virginia, ‘Stonewall’ (Virginia), Iverson's North Carolina, Cooke's North Carolina, H. H. Walker's Virginia and Tennessee, McGowan's South Carolina, and a number of the artillery battalions and cavalry regiments. This revival work went graciously on, and though the ‘Bristoe’ campaign, Longstreet's move to the battle of Chickamauga and his East Tennessee campaign, the cold weather which prevented outdoor services, and the very active campaign of 1864, all tended to interrupt the regular services, the interest by no means ceased, and there was no time at which there was not a precious revival in some of the commands.
Even after the weather became cold enough to keep people from attending their comfortable Churches at home, and before we could have any chapels built, these soldiers would come in crowds, many of them barefooted, to our outdoor meetings, and we rarely gave an invitation that there were not some to publicly manifest their interest