Chapter 6: hospital work.The work of colportage and the work in the hospitals run into each other so naturally that it is really difficult to separate them into chapters, and much written about the one will apply equally to the other. Eternity alone will reveal the amount, character and results of work in the Confederate hospitals. ‘Wayside hospitals,’ where the sick and worn-out were cared for—‘field hospitals,’ in rear of the line of battle—‘receiving hospitals,’ from which the sick and wounded were distributed— and large hospitals in the cities, towns or other suitable places— all had their peculiar features, presented fields of great usefulness, and were scenes of self-sacrificing labors and touching incidents. I want to bear testimony to the fact that (while, of course, there were some incompetents and a few brutes in the service) our Confederate surgeons were as able, skilful and humane men as have ever been seen in this noble profession. They labored under great disadvantages in their lack of suitable medicines and appliances, and their lack of hospital stores, proper rations, etc.; but they did their best and had almost miraculous success in their treatment of the sick and wounded. But even more than to the surgeons the credit of any comfort or sunshine in the hospital was due to our noble women, who were indeed ‘ministering angels’ to our boys, and ready at all times to sacrifice themselves for the welfare of the humblest private who marched to the music of Dixie, or yielded to the bullet or to disease. That noble young ‘heroine of Winchester,’ who sat all night on the battle-field of Kernstown holding the head of an unconscious youth of whom she knew nothing save that he was a Confederate soldier, and who saved his life at the imminent risk of her own, was but a type of those Confederate ‘Florence Nightingales’  who were found in every hamlet, and came to serve in every hospital. A gifted Southern lady, who was herself an ‘angel of mercy’ to many a sick and wounded soldier, has thus described these ‘wayside hospitals:’ These wayside hospitals are located, generally, at the depot of some railroad, where the sick and wounded soldier immediately, as he leaves the cars, exhausted, weary and faint, finds a grateful shelter; where surgical aid, refreshments and attention are immediately tendered him. These institutions are generally supported entirely by voluntary contributions, and refreshing and delightful it is to see the unstinted supplies coming daily in and always equalling the demand. Much faith and prayer have been put in exercise for these tarrying-places for the war-worn soldier, so that their “bread and water” have never failed; nor do we believe they ever shall while the people of a covenantkeeping God claim His exceeding great and precious promises. There are many cases of pathetic interest to be met with at these hospitals. One I will relate, as an incentive to early piety, and as another testimony to the power of our holy religion: After I had ministered to several of the wounded I drew near to the couch of one whose case was considered one of the worst there, but who appeared, since his wounds had been dressed and refreshments administered to him, much relieved. After conversing some time with him he asked my name. I told him, and that I was the wife of the gentleman who had just given him his breakfast (for he had to be fed as an infant). I told him, moreover, that the gentleman was a preacher—a Methodist preacher. “I am a member of the Methodist Church,” said he. “Would he be kind enough to pray for me now? for I have not heard the voice of prayer for many months.” ‘After the prayer was ended the subject of religion continued to be our theme. He said he was quite resigned to God's will concerning him, and that he was not afraid to die; and while dwelling on the goodness of God his countenance assumed that serene and beautiful expression indicative of peace within and joy in the Holy Ghost. Well was it for him that he had strength from on high, and that the everlasting arms of God's love were his support, for in a few hours from the time we conversed together it was found amputation of his arm would be necessary, from which he suffered excruciatingly until death came to his  relief. But all the time of his mortal agony his faith remained firm and unshaken, and he pillowed his sinking head on the bosom of Jesus, and “breathed his life out sweetly there” while, to all around, witnessing a good confession of Christ's power to save to the uttermost all those that put their trust in Him.’ At Richmond, Virginia, there was a little model hospital known as the ‘Samaritan,’ presided over by a lady who gave it her undivided attention, and greatly endeared herself to the soldiers who were fortunate enough to be sent there. ‘Through my son, a young soldier of eighteen,’ writes a father,
I have become acquainted with this lady superintendent, whose memory will live in many hearts when our present struggle shall have ended. But for her motherly care and skilful attention my son, and many others, must have died. One case of her attention deserves special notice: a young man, who had been previously with her, was taken sick in camp near Richmond. The surgeon being absent, he lay for two weeks in his tent without medical aid. She sent several requests to his captain to send him to her, but he would not in the absence of the surgeon. She then hired a wagon and went for him herself; the captain allowed her to take him away, and he was soon convalescent. She says she feels that not their bodies only, but their souls are committed to her charge. Thus, as soon as they are comfortably fixed in a good, clean bed, she inquires of every one if he has chosen the good part; and through her instruction and prayers several have been converted. Her house can easily accommodate twenty, all in one room, which is made comfortable in winter with carpet and stove, and adorned with wreaths of evergreen and paper flowers; and in summer well ventilated, and the windows and yard filled with green-house plants. A library of religious books is in the room, and pictures are hung round the walls. Attached is a dining-room for the convalescent patients, supplied by private families, except the tea and coffee, which are made in the room; and there is also a dressing-room, where they keep their knapsacks, etc. The rooms are kept in order by the convalescents, who serve under her direction, and learn to love their respective duties. The sick are supplied with everything that can make them comfortable. Morning and evening services are held, consisting of reading the Scriptures, singing and prayer; and she is her own chaplain, except when she can procure a substitute. Thus has she been  engaged since April, 1861, with uninterrupted health and unparalleled success, making soldiers and mothers and wives glad, and heaven rejoice over repenting sinners.Here is another sketch of a soldiers' friend who labored in some of our largest hospitals. ‘She is a character,’ writes a soldier,
a Napoleon of her department; with the firmness and courage of Andrew, she possesses all the energy and independence of ‘Stonewall’ Jackson. The officials hate her; the soldiers adore her. The former name her “The great Eastern,” and steer wide of her track; the latter go to her in all their wants and troubles, and know her by the name of “Miss sally.” She joined the army in one of the regiments from Alabama, about the time of the battle of Manassas, and never shrunk from the stern privations of the soldier's life from the moment of leaving camp to follow her wounded and sick Alabamians to the hospitals of Richmond. Her services are not confined, however, to the sick and wounded from Alabama. Every sick soldier has now a claim on her sympathy. Why, but yesterday, my system having succumbed to the prevailing malaria of the hospital, she came to my room, though a stranger, with my ward nurse, and in the kindest manner offered me her services, and soon after leaving returned to present me with a pillow of feathers, with case as tidy as the driven snow. The very sight of it was soothing to an aching brow, and I blessed her from heart and lips as well. I must not omit to tell why “Miss sally” is so disliked by many of the officials. Like all women of energy, she has eyes whose penetration few things escape, and a sagacity fearful or admirable, as the case may be, to all interested. If any abuse is pending, or in progress in the hospital, she is quickly on the track, and if not abated, off “The great Eastern” sails to Headquarters. A few days ago, one of the officials of the division sent a soldier to inform her that she must vacate her room instantly. “Who sent you with that message to me?” she asked him, turning suddenly around. “Dr. ——,” the soldier answered. “Pish!” she replied, and swept on in ineffable contempt to the bedside, perhaps, of some sick soldier. She always has plenty of money to expend in her charitable enterprises, and when not attending in the wards, or at the cooking-stove, dresses with care in the neatest black silk. Such a woman merits an honorable fame. A lady, writing from the hospital at Culpeper Court House, says:
I have lost four of my patients. Three of them died rejoicing in Jesus. They were intelligent, noble, godly young men. One from Virginia said to me as he was dying: “Sing me a hymn.” I repeated, “Jesus, lover of my soul.” He remarked, “Where else but in Jesus can a poor sinner trust?” Just as he passed away, he looked up and said, “Heaven is so sweet to me;” and to the presence of Jesus he went. Another from South Carolina seemed very happy, and sung with great delight, “Happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away.” Young B——, of Virginia, was resigned and even rejoiced at the near prospect of death. He repeated the line. “How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord.” His end was peace. One of these young men had determined to enter the Christian ministry.The scene described by Rev. Mr. Crumley, as he distributed among the soldiers, after one of the Maryland campaigns, the supplies sent forward by the Georgia Relief Association, one of the noblest institutions of the war, is truthful and touching:
After leaving Warrenton, I visited the wounded in private houses around the battle-field, where I very narrowly escaped being taken prisoner by the Yankees. In Winchester I found thousands of the wounded from Maryland crowded into churches, hotels, private houses and tents, in every imaginable state of suffering and destitution. Though kind words and prayers are good and cheering to the suffering, they could not relieve the terrible destitution. At length my anxious suspense was relieved by the coming of Mr. Selkirk, Dr. Camak and Rev. Mr. Potter, bringing supplies from the Georgia Relief and Hospital Association, which were in advance of anything from the Government. Their coming was clothing to the naked, medicine to the sick, and life to the dying. Could that little girl have been with us as we distributed the gifts of the association, and have seen the pleasure with which the heroic youth, who had made the Maryland campaign barefooted, drew on his rough and bruised feet the soft socks which she knit, no doubt she would knit another pair. Could that young lady have seen the grateful expression upon the face of that noble warrior, as, with lips parched with fever, he sipped the wine or tasted the pickles her hand had prepared, whispering, “God bless the ladies of Georgia;” or that  other, as he exchanged his soiled and blood-stained garments for those sent by the association, ejaculating, “ Yes, we will suffer, and die, if need be, in defence of such noble women” —fresh vigor would have been added to her zeal in providing comforts for our suffering “braves.” How much more comfortable and sweet would have been the slumber of that mother could she have seen her “patriot boy,” who had lain upon the bare ground, warmly wrapped in the coverlet or carpet-blanket she had sent for the suffering soldiers. After the battle of Sharpsburg we passed over a line of railroad in Central Georgia. The disabled soldiers from General Lee's army were returning to their homes. At every station the wives and daughters of the farmers came on the cars and distributed food and wine and bandages among the sick and wounded. We shall never forget how very like an angel was a little girl; how blushingly and modestly she went to a great, rude, bearded soldier, who had carved a crutch from a rough plank to replace a lost leg; how this little girl asked him if he was hungry, and how he ate like a famished wolf. She asked if his wound was painful, and in a voice of soft, mellow accents, “Can I do more for you? I am sorry that you are so badly hurt. Have you a little daughter, and wont she cry when she sees you?” The rude soldier's heart was touched, and tears of love and gratitude filled his eyes. He only answered, “ I have three little children. God grant they may be such angels as you.” With an evident effort he repressed a desire to kiss the fair brow of the little girl. He took her little hand between his own and bade her “Good-bye, God bless you.” The child will always be a better woman because of these lessons of practical charity stamped ineffaceably upon her young heart.‘As we were on our way to Manassas on the 19th of July, 1861,’ said an officer of the Virginia troops, ‘on a crowded train of flats, the people along the route of the Manassas Gap Railroad turned out in large bodies, bringing baskets full of provisions and luxuries for the soldiers. Everybody was full of joy, and we rushed on to battle with railroad speed amid the waving of handkerchiefs and the loud huzzahs of a loyal people— little thinking that many of the hearts that beat high for praise would “soon feel that pulse no more.” Not far from one of the depots, which we had just left in great glee, on an eminence by the road, there stood a lady of more than womanly stature, but  of womanly face, with hands uplifted and eyes upturned to heaven in reverential prayer for us and our country. And there she stood with outstretched arms until the train carried us out of sight. I thought of Miriam the prophetess—only the hands of one were lifted in praise, of the other in prayer to God. I never shall forget that scene and the deep impression it made upon all. The shout of reckless joy was turned into serious thought, and blessed, I believe, was the influence of that sight on many a brave heart.’ A correspondent writes:
A young soldier, while dying very happily, sung the following stanza:
Great Jehovah, we adore Thee,The chaplain then asked him if he had any message to send to his friends. ‘Yes,’ said he. ‘Tell my father I have tried to eat my meals with thanksgiving.’ ‘Tell him that I have tried to pray as we used to do at home.’ ‘Tell him that Christ is now all my hope, all my trust, and that He is precious to my soul.’ ‘Tell him that I believe Christ will take me to Himself, and to my dear sister, who is in heaven.’ The voice of the dying boy faltered in the intervals between these precious sentences. When the hymn, commencing, ‘Nearer, my God, to Thee,’ was read to him, at the end of each stanza he exclaimed, with striking energy, ‘O Lord Jesus, thou art coming nearer to me. ’ Also, at the end of each stanza of the hymn commencing—
God the Father, God the Son,
God the Spirit, joined in glory
On the same eternal throne;
To Jehovah, three in one.
Just as I am—without one plea,he exclaimed—‘I come! O Lamb of God, I come!’ Speaking again of his friends, he said, ‘Tell my father that I died happy. ’ His last words were, ‘Father, I'm coming to Thee!’ Then the Christian soldier sweetly and calmly fell ‘asleep in Jesus.’ This was witnessed by about twenty fellow-soldiers and the effect upon the feelings of all was very marked. Said a Roman Catholic, who lay near the dying one, with tears in his eyes, and strong emotion, ‘I never want to die happier than that man did.’ Said another, ‘I never prayed until last night; but when I saw that man die so happy, I determined to seek religion too.’ A colporter writes from ‘Seabrooks’ hospital, Richmond, to Rev. N. B. Cobb, North Carolina: ‘We had a very interesting young man in our hospital, who made a profession of faith  after he entered the army. He told me that soon after he enlisted in the army he began to study about the horrors of war, and was led to feel his need of a Saviour, and felt under deep conviction. There were in his company three pious, praying men. He requested them to accompany him to the woods every day to pray for him, which they did. They had some very happy meetings, at one of which he found Jesus precious to his soul. I think he is the most devoted young man I ever saw. He is badly wounded, but spends every day in prayer and praise to God for the great mercy shown him.’ W. R. Gualtney writes from Richmond to the Biblical Recorder: ‘The Lord is with us at the ‘Seabrooks’ hospital. We have a great revival of religion here. A greater one I scarcely ever witnessed. Rarely a day passes but I find one or more new converts. The number in our hospital is being rapidly reduced, many being transferred to other places, and many having died. But the religious element in our midst is by no means dying out. A large number are yet inquiring, “What must we do to be saved?” Those who have professed a hope in Christ seem to be in the full enjoyment of faith.’ The Petersburg Express says: ‘We are gratified to learn that the state of religious feeling at the hospitals in this city is very encouraging. Within the last three and a half months there have been eighty conversions, and a large number manifest interest in the subject of religion. The chaplains (Rev. Messrs. Young and Hardwick) acknowledge that they have received valuable assistance from the colporters. Tracts have been extensively distributed, and are highly valued by the soldiers. If we can make good Christians of our fighting men, our armies will be invincible against all the hosts that can be brought against them.’ A correspondent of the Religious Herald writes:
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
Not long since it was my privilege to stand by the bedside of one of the heroes who are daily offering themselves as sacrifices upon the altar of their country. He was an officer of the gallant Fifty-sixth Virginia, with which he had been at Donelson, had borne his part in the hardships and glories of that memorable place, had been in the battles around Richmond, had been wounded in the battle of Sharpsburg, and now had come home—to die. As I entered his room he raised his emaciated hand and kindly welcomed me; spoke to me of his sufferings, and conversed  with so much cheerfulness that I could not help expressing the hope that he might yet weather the storm. I was particularly struck with his eye. There was a brightness and fire about it I had never noticed before; but its lustre was of heaven, not of earth; it was soon to close on earthly things, and to gaze on the “King in his beauty.” He told me he had no fear of death, his trust had been firmly fixed on Christ for seventeen years, and for him the last enemy had no terrors. He requested me to read the Fifty-first Psalm, and pray with him. Jesus, who has said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” fulfilled His promise, for as I rose from my knees and wiped away the blinding tears from my eyes, my full heart said, “Surely this is none other than the house of God and the very gate of heaven.” This interview has taught me a lesson of humility which I shall not soon forget; for as I gazed upon the thin, emaciated form, confined to one position, the humble soldier's cot on which he lay, I thought, “Jesus, the King of kings, dwells here, and I had rather be this poor soldier than to be the tenant of a palace.” I bade him “good-bye,” and promised to call soon and see him again, but death came sooner than I expected, for when I heard from him again he had fallen asleep in Jesus; earth bore another grave, but heaven had won a sweeter strain of praise to Him who doeth all things well. Oh, blessed Jesus! Oh, thou divine Redeemer! when we see our friends treading the verge of Jordan, free from fear because Thou art with them, we would raise our hearts and our voices in adoration, and praise, and thankfulness to Thee,Rev. C. F. Fry writes, from Staunton, Virginia:
Who captive leads captivity
And takes the sting from death.
While I was preaching at the hospital a young man, confined to his bed, wept most bitterly. After the service was over he said to me, “I have been thinking a great deal about my condition, but never, until now, could get the consent of my mind to trust the Saviour. God being my helper, I shall never cease looking unto Jesus for life, joy, and peace.”
Says an exchange: ‘A friend in Danville told us that, out of 2,000 letters he had opened, from friends of deceased soldiers, not more than a dozen were found that did not contain religious  advice.’ Perhaps some of the writers never gave religious advice until those to whom they wrote were in the grave. . .
‘At the protracted meeting at the First Church, Richmond, seventeen soldiers professed conversion. A number professed at a similar meeting held in the hospital, and several are obtaining the good hope at a meeting now in progress at the Second Baptist Church. There have been fully seventy-five conversions since the first of last October. Quite a number of soldiers are being taught to read. Some commence with the alphabet. One man fifty years old commenced with his letters, and now reads. The chaplains are doing a good work here.’
Rev. J. C. Hiden, post chaplain, writes to us from Charlottesville: ‘In a stay of nearly a month, I have not heard three oaths, nor seen but one man under the influence of intoxicating liquor. We have preaching or prayer-meeting almost every day, and the attendance is large, and there is evidently considerable interest among the men. Many of them want Testaments and hymn-books, and eagerly seek after them, and all seem approachable on the subject of religion.’ The Richmond Dispatch, of April 11, states that a revival of religion has been in progress, at Camp Winder, near this city, for about two weeks. At that date twenty soldiers had professed conversion and many others had asked an interest in the prayers of their pious comrades. Brother J. C. Clopton furnishes the following in reference to the Rockbridge Hospitals: ‘As I go along among the hospitals my heart is pained at seeing so much to be done and so few laborers. Sometimes I see several physicians going around together to consult about the physical man—to see if the body can be saved from the power of disease, while scarcely any one seems to be concerned about the disease of sin or the death which never dies. Every hospital ought to have at least one colporter. A poor, sick soldier, fifty-four years of age, was deeply affected by my visit to his couch and exclaimed, “Thank God, a minister has come to pray with me.” Oh, I assure you, that to go to these sick men and to read to them the promises of the Gospel, and to invoke upon them the blessing of God, is the next thing to a visit of an angel. It relieves  them from the sad gloom of the sick-room, and sends sunshine into their sorrowing hearts—the sunshine of heaven.’ Rev. J. G. Skinner, Manassas: ‘I have met with very great success during the past month. There is a great demand for reading matter among the soldiers. If you have any tracts, do send them, for I assure you that there never was a time nor a place where such things were more needed than here. I have been preaching and holding prayer-meetings whenever an opportunity presented itself.’ Rev. J. B. Taylor, Jr., Winchester: ‘This morning I went through one hospital to the couch of every man. They thankfully received my tracts and words of sympathy and advice; some calling out to me, before I reached them, to bring them a tract.’ Rev. H. G. Crews writes, from Winchester: ‘A young man in the hospital, upon being asked if he was a Christian, replied: “I have been one, but have gone astray.” I urged him to repent of his backsliding and to return unto God. He seemed deeply moved, and, with moistened eyes, asked that I would visit him again. All the sick seem comforted by having religious conversation; many who make no pretensions to piety listen with solemn attention. A lieutenant desired to be supplied with tracts, that he might distribute them among his men. The same request had been made by others. In the hotels and saloons I have distributed tracts, as well as on the streets, to the hundreds who come in from the camps around. Oh, it is a blessed work to care for the souls of our brave boys. If I could reach the ear of every Christian in the Confederacy I would cry, “ Men of Israel! help!” ’ Mr. J. C. Clopton, who has been laboring at the hospitals in Staunton, and at the Rockbridge Alum Springs, writes: ‘Oftentimes I see the soldiers reading the tracts for days after they have been received, and manifesting the most eager desire to be benefited by them. Passing along to the hospital, I saw a group of convalescents, and at once I was tempted to be ashamed of the work, and was about to pass them without giving any tracts; but it appeared to me that this might be a temptation of the evil one, and I determined to overlook no one. Going up to a soldier, I asked if he was a Christian. He was deeply moved, and replied, “ I wish to have some conversation with you; can you sit down with me awhile?” He told me that he had been  a professor of religion; had enjoyed the smile of God on his soul; but that temptation and vice had led him astray, until now he was almost ready to despair. Weeping and sobbing he confessed his sin. I urged him to seek again the smile and favor of God. A very sick man said to me, “Oh, sir, I would give worlds for an interest in salvation, and the pardon of sin.” He has since passed away.’ A chaplain writes from Williamsburg: ‘I know twelve men in my regiment, who have professed conversion from reading your tracts. One came to me with a tract in his hand, and tears flowing down his cheeks, and said, “I would not take thousands for this tract. My parents have prayed for me, and wept over me; but it was left for this tract to bring me, a poor convicted sinner, to the feet of Jesus. Oh, sir, I feel to-day that I am a new man, and have set out for heaven.” ’ Another chaplain, whose regiment is near Yorktown, says: ‘For three months I have not preached a sermon. We have no preaching place, and I do not know when we shall have one. The most that I can do is by colportage work, from camp to camp, distributing the pages of Divine truth. The soldiers are anxious for Testaments and tracts, and read them most eagerly.’ Rev. Dr. James B. Taylor writes:
‘The field of labor opened here for the accomplishment of good is beyond measure. An angel might covet it. True; and we are not surprised that Rev. Dr. Ryland, President of Richmond College, should accept the position of colporter in the hospitals of the city tendered him by the ladies of the First Baptist Church. The time thus spent will not be esteemed the least honorable portion of his life in the last day.’ A writer in one of the papers gives the following touching description  of religious services in a military hospital:
At 3 o'clock services were held in the main hall of the hospital. It was to me a most imposing spectacle, to witness that large assembly of men in all stages of sickness—some sitting upon their beds, while others were lying down listening to the word of God—many of them probably for the last time. The subject of the sermon was “Peace in Christ,” and a most timely and instructive discourse it was. I do not think that I ever saw a more attentive audience. They seemed to drink in the word of life at every breath. A series a meetings held in the First Baptist Church, Petersburg, during the absence of the pastor, Rev. T. G. Keen, D. D., by Elders W. M. Young and T. Hume, Jr., has resulted in the conversion of four of the citizens and from twelve to fifteen of the soldiers in the hospitals of that city.The colporters of the Soldiers' Book and Tract Society of the Southern Methodist Church report favorably as to the fruit of their labors in the hospital. Rev. J. E. McSparran reports four conversions in the hospitals at Lynchburg, and many seriously and anxiously inquiring the way of life. Rev. J. E. Martin reports sixteen conversions in the Chimborazo Hospital, Richmond. He has found only twelve men who could not read, and they were mostly foreigners. ‘One young man was very anxious to learn to read. I procured a spelling-book, and in a few days he learned so as to be able to read the Bible. He has since professed conversion.’ Rev. A. D. Cohen writes from the camp near Goldsboroa, North Carolina, to the Biblical Recorder. ‘I have more opportunity to do good than at any other time of my pastoral life. Every tent is the habitation of a family of from six to eight men, each one of whom feels constrained to pay at least respectful attention to the kind counsel and good advice of their chaplain.’ Rev. J. H. Campbell, army evangelist, Georgia, relates the following incident: ‘Noticing on the cars a soldier who looked sick and sad I offered him certain tracts which I hoped might suit his case. This led to a conversation, from which I learned that he had been dangerously ill in camp for many weeks, during which he had received intelligence of the death of his wife, who, he said, was ‘one of the best women,’ and that he was returning, broken in health, to his three little motherless children. But for the comforts of religion he thinks he would have lost his  mind; his fellow-soldiers came frequently into his tent, and read the Scriptures and sang and prayed with him. “One text,” said he, “was in my mind day and night, awake and asleep: ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.’” I concluded the poor fellow knew more about religion than myself, and felt comforted while trying to comfort him.’ Rev. Mr. Hume writes:
Rev. Joseph E. Martin, from Chimborazo Hospital at Richmond, writes: ‘We have had lately sixteen conversions. One young man was very anxious to learn to read. I procured him a spelling-book, and in a few days he learned so rapidly as to be able to read the Testament. He has since professed religion. A middle-aged man from Georgia has learned to read since he joined the army, and has committed to memory almost all the New Testament, with the book of Job.’ Rev. George Pearcy, writing from Lynchburg, Virginia, says: ‘I collected from Sunday-schools and individuals above a hundred Testaments, a few Bibles, and some books and tracts—these were placed in three large hospitals for the sick soldiers. There have been as many as 10,000 soldiers in the encampment here, hence it is a most interesting field for usefulness. Many soldiers have the Bible or Testament, and love to read it. A good number are members of Churches. Far away from home and kindred, they are delighted to receive the visits of brother Christians, and get something to read. All receive the tracts, and read them with delight. The Lord has blessed the work.  He has poured out His Spirit upon many. Several have died in the triumphs of faith. It was a great pleasure and privilege to speak to them of the Saviour, and witness their trust in Him during the trying hour. One who died a week ago said, in a whisper, a short time before he breathed his last, when the nurse held up the tract, “Come to Jesus,” “I can't see.” He was told it was the tract, “Come to Jesus,” and that Jesus says, “ Him that cometh unto me I will in nowise cast out.” “Thank the Lord for that,” he replied. “Have you come to Him? and do you find Him precious?” “ Precious, thank the Lord.” “ He has promised never to leave nor forsake His people.” “Thank the Lord for that;” and so he would say of all the promises quoted. One young man, to whom I gave a tract, told me that at home he was a steady, sober man; never swore; but that becoming a soldier he did as many others did—threw off restraint, and did wickedly. “But now,” said he, “I have done swearing, and will seek the salvation of my soul.” ’ ‘When I joined the army,’ said a soldier to a colporter, ‘I was a member of the Church, and enjoyed religion, but since I came into camp I have been without anything of a religious character to read, and assailed on every side by such temptations as have caused me to dishonor my religious profession. Oh, sir, if you had been with me, and extended such aid as you now bestow, I might have been kept from all the sin and sorrow which, as a poor backslider, I have known.’ One who had visited the hospitals at Richmond wrote: ‘The field of labor opened here for the accomplishment of good is beyond measure. An angel might covet it. At 3 o'clock services were held in the main hall of the hospital. It was a most imposing spectacle to see men in all stages of sickness—some sitting upon their beds listening to the word of God—many of them probably for the last time. I do not think I ever saw a more attentive audience. They seemed to drink in the word of life at every breath.’ ‘Some time since,’ says Rev. A. E. Dickinson, ‘it was my pleasure to stand up in the presence of a large company of convalescent soldiers in one of our hospitals to proclaim salvation. During the reading of a portion of Scripture tears began to flow. I then announced that dear old hymn—
There is a fountain filled with blood, the reading of which seemed to melt every heart, and the entire audience was in tears before God. Every word in reference to spiritual truth fell with a soft, subduing fervor on their chastened hearts.’ Rev. J. T. Carpenter, post chaplain at Castle Thunder, Richmond, in a letter to the Army and Navy Messenger, reports 131 professions of conversion among our soldiers in confinement there.
Drawn from Immanuel's veins, etc.,
A lady, living at the North, writes to a Southern friend, after visiting the hospital for Confederate prisoners on David's island: ‘Oh! I felt proud as a queen to see how beautifully they behave —grave, thoughtful, dignified, uncomplaining, cheerful, grateful for kindness, courteous—gentlemen to the backbone. They received me with as much ease (flat on their backs, in shirt and drawers, bunked up all kinds of ways) as if they had been doing the hospitality in their far-off homes. Every man had his Bible, and I heard from one of the carpenters, who rowed us over to the island, that a profane word was never heard from them.’ Brother Luther Broaddus writes from Charlottesville: ‘In compliance with your request I have put myself under the direction of my cousin, Dr. W. F. Broaddus, and have been doing  what I could in the way of tract distribution, etc. I find it a very pleasant work, indeed; the soldiers all seem anxious to secure reading matter, and some are concerned about their souls.’ This noble young man was then just beginning that career of usefulness in which he walked so worthily in the footsteps of illustrious sires, and made himself a warm place in the hearts of his brethren and a prospect for still larger success, which his recent death has cut off
I might multiply at great length incidents illustrating the great value of this colportage work, but I must now content myself with adding only the following: A father sent to his son in the army the tract, ‘Are you Ready?’ and was soon after rejoiced by the reply: ‘Yes, sir! I can now say that I am ready. The tract you sent awakened me. I have gone to Jesus for salvation, and am prepared now for whatever may await me.’ A mother sent her son Dr. J. A. Broadus's tract—‘We are Praying for You at Home’—and added the simple words: ‘Yes! we are praying for you, Charley, that you may become a Christian.’ That boy saw no peace until he found Christ and experienced sweet ‘peace in believing.’ A soldier once asked me for a copy of the tract, ‘You Must Labor for Salvation,’ saying that it had been blessed to his own conversion—that he had given it to a comrade, and he, too, had been converted— and that he now wanted to distribute all of the copies he could get.