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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 [313] 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:

Dear Brother Dickinson: I have been preaching here for more than two weeks—the first week, every night at the Lutheran church; the second, every afternoon at the New School Presbyterian (Dr. Boyd's). For the last few days there were some troops near, and I could preach in their camps, particularly in Corse's Brigade, where I was heartily welcomed by some old friends. The services at the churches were attended by a good many soldiers and citizens; indeed, a large number, if one considers the almost uninterrupted rainy weather, and the confused whirl in which everybody has been living since the wounded at Gettysburg began to pour in, [314]

After preaching on Sunday morning, 12th inst., at Dr. Boyd's church, and watching, when we came out, the passage along the street of nearly 400 prisoners, I stopped to speak to a wounded soldier. They were occupying the basement of the church as a hospital, and the men, disliking the close room, were lying everywhere, in the enclosure before the church, and on the steps, and in the vestibule. So it is at all churches, and one never goes in or out among these poor fellows, lying on their pallets or blankets, wounded or sick, without thinking of the Pool of Bethesda. The one mentioned I simply happened, as we say, to pass by and notice. He was from Georgia. In response to my inquiry, he said he was not a Christian, but wished he was. His parents were pious, but mighty hard “(Hard Shells);” for his part, he liked to hear all denominations preach, and he had for a long time been trying and laboring to be a Christian. I sought to explain to him the way of salvation, and he listened most earnestly. Presently I was interrupted a moment by one of the ladies who were waiting on the wounded, and then turning to this man, I gave him my hand to take leave. But he held my hand hard, and said: “Stop a little. Pray for me, won't you? I want to be a Christian. My dear mother died two years ago, after I entered the army. She had six sons that enlisted; four of them are dead, a fifth was wounded at second Manassas, and is a cripple at home; and here am I, and I remember the last words my father spoke to me: he said, ‘My son, I want you to be a praying boy.’ I've tried to do it, but I'm very wicked, and deserve God's wrath. You seem to care something for me—now pray for me, won't you?” He sat up on his blanket, drawing his wounded foot toward him, and I sat by his side. There were soldiers lying all around, and people passing in every direction, and noisy confusion in the street close by, but I never in my life felt more deeply that prayer is a living and precious reality. And when I arose, he took my hand himself, and said, “Now you have prayed for me once—won't you remember me and pray for me still?” There had been nothing remarkable in this man's appearance; he was a hale, heartylooking soldier; and I walked away thinking how many there doubtless are of these poor fellows whom one sees everywhere by hundreds, that would in like manner reveal to an enquirer an anxious concern for their salvation, retained in some cases for months and years. There is no mistake about it that a [315] large proportion of these soldiers are deeply interested in the subject of religion. Any experienced preacher would see it, from the way they listen to preaching; and in private, not only are all respectful, but many cordially welcome religious conversation, and avow, without the slightest hesitation, their desire to be Christians.

The convalescent camp.

The Yankees have, at various times, obtained materials for furnishing their camp from the once beautiful residence of Senator Mason, on the edge of town, and there is now nothing left but some half demolished walls. A camp, for convalescent soldiers on their way to the army, was established near there last week, and I went out to preach on Tuesday morning. Some 200 men assembled under the trees in what was Mr. Mason's yard, and it was moving to see with what fixed attention they listened. Men were there from almost every State in the Confederacy, but we had a common interest in God's worship and word. At the close of the sermon, some twenty or twenty-five readily knelt for special prayer. My appointments here having closed on Saturday, I intended to go down to Bunker Hill on Monday, and get into the army proper; but it became so clear that they were about to be in rapid motion, that I saw there would be no opportunity to preach just now, and I should simply be in the way. So I propose to fall back to Charlottesville, and wait until the army is quiet again. By the way, when at the camp of Corse's Brigade the other day, Major C. and Lieutenant F. of the Fifteenth Virginia, two Baptist brethren whom I had not met before, made me a present of a hat, which cost them $20 here, and would have cost twice as much in Richmond. I take this as a token that your army evangelists will not lack for friends. I have been treated with great kindness by Rev. Messrs. Graham and Dosh, and Rev. Dr. Boyd, pastors in Winchester, and have received much pleasure and valuable aid in the common work from the presence here of my cherished friend, Rev. J. Wm. Jones, chaplain Thirteenth Virginia, who is surely one of the most useful men in the service.

Very truly yours,

The meetings which we held in Winchester and in the camps [316] around, and our labors in the crowded hospitals were a fit preparation for the grand work which followed when we reached the line of the Rapidan, and the deep interest shown by the soldiers was a prophecy of the ‘season of refreshing from the presence of the Lord’ which was just ahead of us.

‘A writer in the Central Presbyterian mentions a revival progressing in the Rockbridge Artillery, with twenty-four additions to various churches on a profession of faith. He says: “Many ascribe the first turnings of their attention to the subject to the earnest, prayerful letters from home, urging them to turn to Christ.” Remember this, Christian, when you write next to your friends in camp; and so write that God may bless your letters; and ask Him to do so. A revival is in progress in Corse's Brigade, Pickett's Division, Army of Northern Virginia, and about 200 have shared in the outpouring of God's Spirit.’

Rev. S. W. Howerton, chaplain of the Fifteenth North Carolinia Regiment, reports seventy hopeful conversions and many anxious inquirers in it.. “Every company has prayers, nightly, immediately after roll-call, and nearly all attend and are respectful; the officers, in some instances, conducting the exercises and leading in prayer.” —Rev. G. W. Camp, army missionary at Kingston, North Carolina, baptized five converts, August 2, in the river Neuse.’

The special correspondent of the Richmond Enquirer, under date August 12, writes: ‘Yesterday the chaplains of the Second and Third Corps held their regular meeting, and after a very excellent sermon from Rev. B. T. Lacy, formerly of Fredericksburg, most interesting reports were made, showing that a high state of religious feeling pervades these two corps. General Ewell was present at the meeting, and manifested much interest in the proceedings.’

Rev. John J. Hyman writes, from Orange: ‘We are holding a protracted meeting of very great interest in Thomas's Brigade. Large numbers are seeking the Saviour, and there are many who are asking for tracts and hymn-books. If you can spare an army missionary to us, he would be gladly welcomed. We would say to such an one, “Come over and help us.” ’

Rev. J. H. Harris writes, from Mercer county, Virginia: ‘I feel much encouraged by the anxiety which is manifested by the troops for the printed page. They press around me so eagerly as soon as the benediction is pronounced, and beg for tracts and [317] Testaments. I have been aiding Elder M. Bibb, who is carrying on a fine meeting in his regiment. Ten have professed conversion while many more are seeking after the Saviour.’—

A. E. D.

During the whole effort, from last spring, 185 persons came forward for prayer, and 104 made a profession of faith. Of this number I have baptized forty-six, and I know of three or four others who expect to unite with us. Those who have joined the Methodists number forty-nine. I desire to feel profoundly grateful to God that our labors have been so extensively blessed. Out of about 1,500 men, we thus have 100 who, if they are not made better soldiers, we know they are not made worse—and in respect to their morals, we know they are greatly elevated; and, what is of no mean importance, they are prepared for life or death; and should they be permitted to return home, it will be to bless their friends and build up the Redeemer's Kingdom among them. I would I could say this of all, both officers and men, throughout the Confederacy.

M. Bibb, Chaplain Sixtieth Virginia Regiment.

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.’

There are great demands for evangelists in the army. Some have recently entered upon this service, and are enjoying the Divine blessing. A delightful revival is in progress near Drewry's Bluff, in which Elder A. Broaddus, Sr., has been engaged from the beginning of the meeting. There have been eighty professions of conversion; forty backsliders have been reclaimed, and and twenty-four persons baptized. We are very anxious to secure the services of several ministers adapted to this kind of labor. The brethren engaged in the revival at Drewry's Bluff are almost broken down, and need instant help.

‘A majority of the Thirty-second Mississippi Regiment are Church-members.’ [318]

Messrs. Editors: The meeting held with the Twenty-sixth Regiment, Wise's Brigade, which commenced more than four weeks ago, is still in progress. About 175 have professed religion, among whom are a number of what are called backsliders. I have reason to believe that a majority of the backsliders were never converted until since the commencement of our meeting. The Lord give them grace to slide forward the balance of their lives! Brother Wiatt has baptized sixty-four, and about an equal number have united with a Methodist class, lately organized in camp. Major Garrett, a Methodist preacher, baptized nine the other day in the James river.

In haste,

Richmond, July 23.
I have only time to say to your readers that the meeting with the Twenty-sixth Virginia Regiment, Wise's Brigade, is still deeply interesting; that I left this morning to attend to some domestic affairs in Bedford; that Dr. Jeter has just promised to go down to-morrow and assist the chaplain the balance of the week; that Brother Wiatt has baptized seventy-two up to this time; that 185 have professed religion; that the exercises throughout have been characterized by deep heart excitement, without any noise or confusion; that I expect to return in eight or ten days; that I fondly hope that many others will be converted; and that I am still yours affectionately,

I am now assisting the chaplain of the Forty-second North Carolina Regiment, General Martin's Brigade, in a series of meetings every night when the weather permits. The congregations are very large and attentive. Many come forward and ask God's people to pray for them. I am very much pleased with my new field of labor thus far. The soldiers appreciate kindness.

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. [319]

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:

Mt. Pisgah Church, Orange county, Virginia, August 5, 1863.
Dear Brethren: When it was my pleasure, nine years ago; to hear, from the pulpit of this church, a sermon from good Brother Herndon Frazer, I little dreamed that I was ever to witness the scene which now surrounds me. Then I came on a quiet Sabbath [320] to hear an earnest proclamation of the “Gospel of peace” — now I see, on every side, the implements of deadly strife, and hear the busy hum of the camp. Yet the scene shall not be wholly changed; for the manly voices of war-worn veterans shall chant at morn and eve the same good old hymns wh then echoed through this temple of the living God. The “Gospel of peace” shall still be proclaimed to those who strive for their country's weal, and the voice of prayer shall still ascend to the God who then met with His people. So much has occurred since I last wrote that I scarce know where to begin or stop. Our sojourn in Winchester was rendered most delightful by the warm-hearted hospitality of the people—they threw open to us their churches, their homes and their hearts—and we left there with many bitter regrets that we were compelled to leave such a people to the ‘tender mercies’ of such a foe. Brother John A. Broadus preached every day (twice a day, sometimes) for two weeks, and despite the bad weather and other adverse circumstances the congregations were large and attentive, and many “precious seed” were sown which shall, in due season, bring forth their fruit. We were especially indebted to the pastors who were present (Rev. Dr. Boyd, Rev. Mr. Graham, Rev. Mr. Dosh and Rev. Mr. Brooke) for the tender of their churches, as also for many personal kindnesses—they were Christian brethren with whom it was pleasant to hold intercourse. Dr. Burrows, of Richmond, was also there with the “ambulance committee,” and preached us several sermons, which were none the less acceptable because the preacher was constantly seen on the street with coat off and hard at work amongst the wounded, and did not have on exactly his 't'other clothes' when he entered the pulpit, as some rascal had lightened his wardrobe on the route. Rev. Dr. William J. Hoge also preached several sermons to large and attentive congregations. I must not omit either to mention the labors of Brother M. D. Anderson, who was untiring in the hospitals, and whose ‘silent preachers’ could be seen in every ward. By the way, the “Ambulance committee,” of Richmond, are now an institution—they do noble work after every battle, and their arrival is always hailed with joy by the poor sufferers whom they come to relieve. And the ladies of Winchester will not be soon forgotten by the thousands who received their benefactions. Their praise is in the mouths of all who had an opportunity of witnessing their entire devotion to the comfort of the [321] wounded. I was in the hospitals every day, and I never witnessed more constant attention to our wounded than was shown by these noble women, who were at the side of our poor fellows from morning until night. And besides their attention in the hospitals they threw open their houses—in a word, they did their whole duty to our brave boys who fell fighting to relieve them from the return of the foe. Our march from Winchester was a tedious one, and many fell out by the way, though most of them have since come up. Yet, notwithstanding the weariness of the men, I found frequent opportunities for religious services, and deeply interested listeners. And the tracts and papers I was enabled to distribute were eagerly read. Since we reached this camp the opportunities for religious services have been very fine. I have two appointments a day for preaching— shall have three after to-day, and might find opportunities for preaching even more frequently to large and attentive congregations. Now is the time for our brethren to comply with the resolutions of the General Association, and “spend part of their time in visiting and preaching in the army.” We may move from this line if the movements of the enemy render it necessary, but shall not, probably, go far, or have a battle very soon. So, if brethren really desire to work in this wide field of usefulness, let them come on at once, and they shall find plenty to do. I expect to administer the ordinance of baptism to-morrow, and trust that it will not be the last time while we are enjoying this brief season of repose. Brother J. A. Broadus was compelled, by hoarseness, to leave us the other day, but we hope he may be able to return again in a few days. Our army is rapidly increasing in numbers, the weary are becoming rested, and the general efficiency improved. We have very few croakers—they are found chiefly amongst those who stay at home, and have done nothing for our cause; but, on the contrary, our boys are cheerful and confident—longing for peace and a return to the sweets of their homes, yet willing to spend and be spent to protect their loved ones. I rejoice to see that our Christian President has again called the nation to humiliation and prayer, and shall be greatly disappointed if it is not universally observed. Our country Churches ought, by all means, to have prayer-meetings where they cannot have the services of their pastors; and let me suggest that the spiritual wants of our army should form a subject of prayer on the occasion.



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.’

On last evening fifteen were buried with Christ in baptism. And still the good work goes on. Our meetings are increasing in interest, and each evening scores of soldiers are inquiring, “What shall we do to be saved?” Brother Kitzmiller has been laboring with us with a zeal and earnestness characteristic of a true Christian.

John H. Tomkies, Chaplain Seventh Florida Regiment.

camp near Fredericksburg, law's Brigade, August 17.
Messrs. Editors: I write to inform you of an interesting meeting which has been in progress for several days in this brigade. Brother W. H. Carroll, of Alabama, is with us, laboring earnestly and zealously for the conversion of souls, persuading men to be Christians. His services are very acceptable to us, and I verily believe well-pleasing in the sight of God. I have for a long time wished to see the power of God made manifest in our camp. Some of the regiments, particularly the Fourth Alabama, have been without a chaplain the most of the time since they entered the service. It has seemed to me that we have been neglected, and that none cared for our spiritual welfare; that we were abandoned, each one to pursue his own course down the road to sin and destruction, without any spiritual adviser to tell us of our duties, and warn us of impending danger. But thanks be to God, He who rules and watches over us, and is ever mindful of the welfare of poor erring man, has in His good Providence directed the steps of Brother Carroll, and is manifesting His love and presence in our midst in the conviction and conversion of souls. A deep and powerful conviction of sin prevails, and religion has become the chief topic of conversation with many. Many of the noble sons of Alabama, who have stemmed the tide of many battles in defence of civil liberty, are now bowing humbly at the Cross, endeavoring to throw off the shackles of sin, and seeking liberty [323] from the thraldom of Satan. How many parents' hearts will be gladdened when the glorious news of a revival in our camp reaches them! We feel assured that we have the prayers of the parents and friends of these noble soldier boys, and we ask an interest in your prayers and the prayers of all true lovers of religion, that God will carry on the good work he has so graciously begun until this entire brigade and entire army shall become the followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, and our every heart shall be attuned to His praise. 0, for an humble, Christian army! We can never obtain liberty and peace until we humble ourselves in the dust before God. Should we not strive earnestly and faithfully for this end? Let us all strive faithfully for this glorious result, and peace will wreathe our banners here, and unalloyed happiness be our portion in the life to come.

J. W. H.

Chaffin's Bluff, August 22.
Dear Brother Dickinson: God has seen fit, in His mercy, greatly to bless the labors of His servants in this (General Wise's) brigade. We have recently closed a meeting in the Twentysixth Regiment, which resulted in the hopeful conversion of 150 souls; while forty or fifty more, many of them scarcely recognized as the followers of Christ, have been strengthened and encouraged to take a more positive stand for their Saviour and His cause. Rev. Mr. Miller, of Forty-sixth Regiment, has been laboring faithfully with those under his care, with occasional help, and as the result about two hundred have been brought, as we trust, from darkness to light. Brother A. Broaddus, Sr., and myself are now laboring in a meeting at the Bluff. Two have professed conversion, and several have been built up and strengthened in the faith.

P. S.— Monday. Since writing the above, our meeting at the Bluff has greatly increased in interest. Brother Broaddus was taken sick on Saturday. Yesterday I labored almost alone. Preached twice; conducted two prayer-meetings, exhorting five or six times. Six have professed conversion, and last night thirty presented themselves for prayer. The Lord is with us.

Rev. J. J. D. Renfroe, chaplain Tenth Alabama Regiment, [324] 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.

camp near Hamilton's Crossing, August 27, 1863.
A glorious revival is going on in Major Henry's Battalion, Captain Riley's Battery. I have been laboring with them several days, meeting twice a day. The men are deeply interested in the meetings. Four have professed a hope in Christ and many are seriously concerned. Last night twelve came forward for prayer. Dr. W. F. Broaddus has promised to preach for us tonight. Will not some of our brethren come and assist us in this glorious work? The brethren in the company take a lively interest in it. I have been distributing a great many copies of the Herald among them, and find they are eagerly sought after. Pray for us, dear brethren, that this work may continue until all of this company shall become faithful and happy Christians.

M. D. Anderson, Colporter A. N. Va.

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.’ [325]

Chaplains' Association of the Second and Third army Corps.

This association was formed in the Second or Jackson's Corps, March 16, 1863, and has held weekly meetings ever since, unless prevented by providential circumstances. We meet on each Tuesday, and first hear a sermon by the last chairman. Our doors are open to the public. The state of religious interest before and after the battle of Chancellorsville has been reported as most encouraging. Many openly assumed the armor of the Christian and numbers were inquiring the way to Jesus. Sweet communion seasons were held, where new-born souls first feasted on the shed blood and the broken body of the Lamb. Some of these never ate again on earth, for they were summoned to go up higher and sit with Jesus Himself. Our glorious Christian hero, leader and friend, fell in that fight, and our hearts mourned. The army felt deeply the blow. We trust the affliction has been blessed to us all. A new corps was formed for General A. P. Hill, and a part of General Jackson's corps was taken to fill it. Our association was then extended to both corps.

We met first, since the battle of Gettysburg, in the Baptist church at Orange Court House, on Tuesday, August 11, 1863. Rev. B. T. Lacy preached from 2 Cor. IV. 14: “The love of Christ constraineth us.” Rev. A. M. Marshall, of the Baptist Church and chaplain of the Twelfth Georgia Infantry, was chosen chairman. After receiving new members, we had a free conversation about the state of religion in our army. A wonderful change had passed over the army from the quiet and regular meetings at Hamilton's Crossing to the bustle and activity of an invasive campaign. The chaplains had been diligent in holding services with their regiments. Some had prayed with and exhorted them while lying in the trenches in line of battle. And though some had feared the results of this campaign upon the moral and spiritual welfare of the soldiers, and there were some excesses to be deeply regretted, yet there were many conversations on the march or in the tumult of battle. Now that we are quiet in camp an intense interest in spiritual things is found to pervade the army. Perhaps there is a more hopeful and blessed reviving of God's work here now than ever before. In Ramseur's, Doles's, Smith's, Gordon's, Wright's, Thomas's, Posey's and Scales's Brigades God was working wonderfully. In some, officers and men were together bowed under the heavy burden of their sins; in all, [326] many were earnestly seeking their souls' salvation, and many were rejoicing in hope of reconciliation to God through His Son Jesus. In Hays's Brigade, in which there is no Protestant chaplain, in a little prayer-meeting, five persons had professed conversion and wish to join some Church. A neighboring chaplain, on application, went over to assist them. The prayer-meeting was now a great congregation and the interest was growing. Wilcox's Brigade is now blessed for the first time by an outpouring of God's Spirit. There have been some thirty conversions therein during the week, ending August 18th. It is harvest time with the army. Jesus is the Husbandman, and angels are singing over the rich harvest. Laborers are needed here. Who will come to help, Lord? Who will pray for richer blessings on this noble army? Rev. Theo. Pryor, D. D., now missionary in Longstreet's or First Corps, said that though he had been a pastor for thirty-one years, he felt thankful to God for opening the way for him to labor in the army. He had never enjoyed the sense of God's presence in preaching as here. At his last meeting many had requested prayer for their souls. Rev. J. A. Broadus testified similarly. He had been deceived as to preaching among the soldiers; for not half had been told him. He had no idea of the state of religious feeling here, though he had had more opportunities than many out of the army to know the truth of the matter. He had never enjoyed preaching so much. A far larger proportion of men attend divine services here than at home. They come because they choose here. Rev. D. B. Ewing, chaplain of the post at Gordonsville, had been much blessed in his labors in the hospital. He never met with a repulse in presenting Christ. Many were converted. Judging the religious sentiment of the army from cases sent to the hospital, he pronounced it better than that of the Church at home. The scarred veteran would meet with a religious chill on returning to his Church.

This is a brief account of the results of our meeting on August 11th and on August 18th, when the conference was continued. At this latter meeting Rev. J. A. Broadus preached from 2 Cor. II. 16: “And who is sufficient for these things.” He presented the apostle's example as worthy of our imitation amid all discouragements; and tenderly stated and forcibly illustrated the grounds of St. Paul's confidence. After some further business, the association adjourned to meet on Tuesday, August 25th, at the same [327] place. We left feeling how blessed it was to work for God at such a time as this.

L. C. Vass, Secretary.

camp near Orange Court House, September 1.
For nearly a week I have been aiding Rev. J. J. D. Renfroe, chaplain Tenth Alabama, in a protracted meeting. I found Brother Renfroe nearly broken down, having been for three weeks preaching daily. Our congregations have been very large; for some distance the entire grove being crowded with deeply interested listeners. Never in my life have I seen men so eager to hear and be profited by the word spoken. Though I have preached nine times I have not seen one listless hearer among all the hundreds who have been in attendance. Not a word has been spoken during the services, and, so far as I could see, every man has seemed profoundly impressed with the solemnity and importance of the occasion. It is impossible to say how many have asked to be prayed for. On several nights not less than from 150 to 200 made this request of us. Many have professed conversion—not less, I should think, than 175. Last night our congregation was considerably larger than on any previous night, and the interest is evidently on the increase. Brother Renfroe is receiving many for baptism. While our meeting has been going on so pleasantly, just on the opposite hill, about a hundred yards distant, in the same brigade, is another of equal interest. It is being conducted by a Baptist minister, a lieutenant and a Methodist chaplain. Fifty have professed conversion. I will give a few facts, by way of illustrating the character of this work of grace. I announced at one of the meetings that there was an assortment of tracts in the chaplain's tent. In a few moments after I found numbers crowding around the tent and helping themselves. Each man looked over the packages and selected such as he wanted, and consequently every tract which explained the plan of salvation, or which treated of Christ, was taken, and the others left. As the soldier's eye would glance over the titles, when he came to “The great question answered,” by A. Fuller, or, “Come to Jesus,” his face beamed with joy. No one seemed to feel that he had time to read of anything else except the way to be saved. Another interesting feature in the meeting is the deep solicitude which all seem to have that they may be genuinely converted. The young converts often come [328] to us privately deeply affected, in many cases weeping and trembling, to ask for further instruction as to what constitutes conversion. They have an unspeakable dread of being deceived on this point. One young man, the son of a Baptist minister, said to me: “Oh, sir, I have a little hope, but I am afraid to confess it, for fear it may not be well founded.” Another said that for months he had been hoping that he was a Christian, but that he was “so afraid that he might backslide and dishonor his Master.” It is interesting, too, to see how long the work of grace has been in progress in many hearts. Several have for more than a year been under deep conviction and been seeking the Saviour. Not a few have received their first religious impressions on the battlefield. I think eight or ten spoke of having been convicted at the Chancellorsville fight, while an interesting young man assured us that during the battle of Seven Pines, while his comrades were falling around him, he promised the Lord that he would love and serve Him; from that day to this he has been trying to make good his vow. Without doubt, in hundreds of instances, the shock of battle has been sanctified to the saving of souls. It is worthy of record that this meeting is greatly developing the gifts of Christians. Many a brother is aroused to his duty to put forth active efforts for the salvation of sinners. Two of the young men, members of the Tenth Alabama, are now holding a protracted meeting in a neighboring camp. They go over every evening and preach the Gospel, comforting and encouraging Christians and warning sinners. A revival has sprung up under their labors. A chaplain of a Virginia regiment remarked, yesterday, that the Master intends honoring many of these young men by putting them in the ministry. We have, from the beginning of the war, been pleading with the Churches to send preachers to the army, and with some little success. It seems, now, that the army itself is to produce a supply. I beg that all through the land earnest and constant prayer be made that scores and hundreds of Christian men in the army may be called of God to the work of the ministry. How refreshing is the thought of hundreds of such ministers returning, after the war is over, to aid in establishing Churches and in preaching the Gospel to “every creature.” Rev. J. J. D. Renfroe, a laborious and successful chaplain, was for a brief period in the employ of the Sunday-school and Publication Board. When he made known the fact that he had arrived at the conclusion that it was his duty to [329] give himself to the army, his churches were very unwilling to give him up. At one church, after several had spoken against his leaving, three of the sisters remarked, that while they valued as highly as any Brother Renfroe's services, they could cheerfully give him up to labor in the army, for they had sons there for whose conversion they felt very deeply. Each of these three sisters has received a great blessing. The sons of two of them have professed conversion, and the son of the third has been restored to the fellowship of God's people, from whom he had wandered. I cite this incident with the hope of encouraging the churches to give their pastors, at least for a few months, to this work. Your own son, or brother or father, may be converted through the preaching of your minister in camp. And if this may not be, some one else may be reached and saved. Then encourage your pastor to go, and send on what funds you may be able to contribute, with which to publish camp hymns, Testaments and tracts for our brave soldiers.

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.’

Dear Brethren Editors: Grant me a small space to report what the Lord has done and is doing for us in Mahone's Brigade. This brigade has five Virginia regiments (2,000 men), and there is not a chaplain in it. The men tell me, that until recently, they had not heard a sermon for six months. Although deprived of this privilege, they forsook not the assembling of themselves for prayer. And God, who ever hears the earnest prayers of [330] His chosen, is now pouring out upon them His gracious Spirit. For the last two weeks they have been supplied with preaching twice a day, morning and night. During this time about eighty have made a profession of faith in Christ, and large numbers come forward nightly and ask us to pray for them. The interest seems to be rather increasing than diminishing. Brother J. A. Broadus and myself are still trying to point them to the Saviour. My dear brethren, we are realizing here all the primitive simplicity with which we are accustomed to think of John the Baptist, of Christ, and of the apostles, as standing in the midst of dense crowds and speaking to as many as could get near enough to hear them. I cannot fully describe the work and its peculiar joys; you must come and see. I freely confess, that it far surpasses anything I ever expected to realize. There is no confusion or disorder, as you might suppose; but, on the contrary, the attention is earnest and constant. Brethren, do come and help us, for we are very few.

Dear Brethren: It gives me pleasure to report more definitely this week, the state of religious interest in Mahone's Brigade, where we have been holding a series of meetings for three weeks. On last Sabbath, Brother Andrew Broaddus, Jr., at my request, baptized thirty-one candidates for admission into the Baptist Church; nineteen others are awaiting to be baptized, and I learn that others will report themselves in a few days. At present 146 are reported to have found peace in Christ, and have asked for membership among some one of the evangelical denominations. The interest is unabated. Scores and hundreds are asking, “What must we do to be saved?”

H. E. H., Army Evangelist.

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.’

camp, Twenty-Sixth Virginia, September 12.
Dear Brother Dickinson: Find enclosed the sum of $186.98, subscribed by this regiment to aid in circulating Bibles, Testament, [331] tracts, etc., in the army. We have been very much indebted to you for about two years, and we very cheerfully contribute the above amount. Many in this regiment, no doubt, will, in the great day, thank you and those co-operating with you, for sending and bringing them the “glorious Gospel of the blessed God” in so many forms. Thousands of pages of your tracts have been distributed and read with pleasure and profit. Hundreds of your Bibles and Testaments have been presented to us and most highly prized, I assure you. And your ministers have come to us and most faithfully preached the “word of life.”

We have been holding prayer-meetings constantly in the chapel for weeks, and we scarcely ever fail, how tired soever the men may be, to have a large congregation. It is a glorious sight to behold a hundred or two of young Christians mingling their voices in praise to their Saviour. Many of them exhort and pray in public, and there is quite a development of piety and of gifts. We have inquirers still, and some are giving their hearts to the Saviour. I have already baptized seventyone in this regiment, and there are others to be baptized. Nearly as many have united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and quite a number with the Presbyterian Church. I have also baptized thirty-six in the Thirty-fourth and Forty-sixth, some of who mprofessed conversion at our meeting, and others in their own regiments.

Your brother in Christ,

Wm. E. Wiatt, Chaplain Twenty-sixth Virginia.

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.’

Orange Court House, September 20.
Dear Brother Dickinson: After receiving my commission as evangelist, I proceeded to Fredericksburg, where I labored with the Eighth and Ninth Georgia Regiments, who were quartered in the city. There was then, and had been for some time, a deep religious feeling throughout the whole brigade—Anderson's— and at the instance of Brother Burnham, Chaplain of the Ninth Georgia Regiment, I made an appointment to baptize some [332] fifteen or twenty the following Sabbath. But before the next Sabbath the entire corps had been ordered South. Thus broken up in my plans in that region, I changed my base, and came to Orange Court House, where there were thousands of soldiers eager to hear the Gospel. In connection with Brother Gwin, of Rome, Georgia, I preached first in Wright's Brigade, but orders came for this brigade to move to the front, and again was I forced to seek a new field of labor. For the past four or five days I have been preaching in Lane's North Carolina Brigade, with great pleasure, by reason of interest manifested by the soldiers in the important subject of personal salvation. There have been as many as twenty-five and thirty forward for prayer at a time. Three were baptized last Thursday, and others have connected themselves with other denominations. On yesterday I aided in ordination of Brother Eatman, of North Carolina, a chaplain in this brigade, and for four years past an acceptable Methodist preacher. I am to-day going to Pegram's battalion of artillery, and if the prospects are encouraging, will remain with them several days. Nearly the entire army is on the Rapidan, with the enemy full in front, and a battle imminent; there is, therefore, but little opportunity for holding protracted meetings.

near Orange Court House, September 25.
Messrs. Editors: You will be gratified, and the hearts of many of your readers will be much encouraged, to know that, during our long inactivity, the Spirit of God has been working in our midst, and that many sinners have professed conversion, and many more have offered themselves as fit subjects for prayer. A glorious meeting was closed in this brigade (Walker's) about two weeks ago, having been exceedingly successful in its design; for more than thirty sinners appeared happily converted to God, through our Redeemer. Prayermeetings were held constantly from night to night, and we have cause to think that they have resulted in some good. It is indeed a great privilege for the followers of Christ to meet frequently and unite in singing the songs of Zion. Religious men in camp have many trials and temptations to contend with, but we have the blessed consolation of knowing that the word of God contains many cheering promises; and though we are [333] much tempted, we know that if we approach the Throne of Grace in an humble and sincere manner, our prayers will be heard and answered, and that we will be sufficiently strengthened to overcome all temptations, and to go on our way rejoicing. Brother Anderson is now conducting a protracted meeting in the Fortieth Virginia Regiment (Walker's Brigade), with a bright prospect of happy results. Rev. Mr. Anderson has been an instrument in God's hand of doing great good, both in his own regiment (Fortieth Virginia) and in the Fifty-fifth Virginia.

Brethren Editors: . . . Reaching Orange Court House late in the afternoon, I walked out about two miles to Doles's Brigade, and was almost immediately put to work. On reaching the preaching place, I was agreeably surprised at the arrangements. While I was in the field we were always moving, and nothing better than the ground was ever used by either preacher or people, and when I preached at night, some brother would hold a torch or candle while I read hymn or chapter. But here I found a large amphitheatre of log-seats, with a pulpit in the centre, covered with an arbor, and flanked on either hand by a platform, whose blazing lightwood illuminated every face in the vast congregation. The sea of upturned, earnest faces, and the songs swelling from hundreds of manly voices and making the forests resound, I was, from the accounts received, prepared for. But they were none the less impressive, and I felt it indeed a luxury to preach under such circumstances. I could not help wishing Dr. Jeter were there to stir those masses with his trumpet tones; and O! how Reynoldson would have revelled in such labors! How he would have charmed those crowds! To the last the interest increased. Every morning inquirers came to the inquirymeet-ing, while at night scores and scores came forward for prayer. In the adjoining brigade, also, an interesting meeting was in progress. On Sabbath, Brother Marshall baptized twenty candidates, and appropriate Scripture was read to an immense concourse covering the adjoining hillside. Some half a dozen other baptizings were going on at the same hour in the neighborhood.

I feared this move to the front would interfere with my operations, instead of which it facilitated them. On Monday, I [334] preached to nearly all of Johnson's Division, which was bivouaced in a large plain. Lying as they thus were, close together, and without their usual resources, a larger audience was secured than would be possible in camp. In this division I met my old regiment, and also another containing many men from my town. On Tuesday I moved to the front. Here I met Brother J. Wm. Jones, who insisted on my preaching in his brigade. As they were right on the Rapidan, in sight and hearing of both the cannonading and sharp-shooting, which, of course, greatly interested the men, leading them to rush in crowds to a point commanding a view of what was going on, I expressed a doubt as to whether preaching was expedient. A soldier lying on the ground said, “As soon as you begin, they will stop looking and come to hear you, and none will leave, either.” I found this literally true. In this brigade, as well as in a neighboring battalion of artillery where I preached, I found several of the members of my Church, who seemed so glad to see me, and gave such good accounts of themselves, that I felt sorry I had not sooner paid them a pastoral visit. My friends at home feared I would make myself sick in the army. Instead of this, I returned home invigorated in every respect. Preaching principally at night, I staid mainly in camp or bivouacs. But whenever I desired the refreshment of a good home-meal or bed, they were heartily afforded by Brother Hiden and Brother Scott, who, with their wives, think they cannot be too kind and hospitable to preachers, even in these hard times, and in the trying circumstances in which they are placed, surrounded by a large army. I should not omit to mention the cordial greeting and hospitality extended by officers of various denominations, and of none, and their testimony to the improvement in our army. I could not help noticing how many were reading their Testaments, even when they were lying on the roadside, and how they would gather in knots to spend a short leisure in singing. I tried once or twice to carry tracts, but in vain, as crowds of soldiers would gather around and humbly, but earnestly beg to relieve me. It was pleasant every day or two to meet Brothers Pritchard, Broaddus, Sr., and others, and compare notes. They will, doubtless, give you their impressions and experiences.


Geo. B. Taylor. Staunton, September 23.


Cumberland, September 23.
Dear Brother Dickinson: I wish to give you a short account of a prayer-meeting to which I was invited, the 8th inst. This meeting was held with Captain Massey's Company (Company C), Nelson's Battalion, stationed near Gordonsville. When I arrived I found the brethren earnestly engaged in prayer. They were without preachers, but God had given them hearts to pray, and, in answer to their prayers, five of their comrades had professed faith in Christ. We continued the meetings six nights, with preaching, exhortation and prayer, at which time they were broken up by the demonstration made by the enemy at Culpeper Court House. Twenty-two professed conversion, and about twenty-five were anxiously inquiring the way of life. In fact, the entire company, with three or four exceptions, seemed seriously impressed; also many others, from other companies of the battalion. Now that the reaping time has come, should not all God-fearing men be engaged, that the good Lord may send out more laborers to gather in the ripe harvest? I have heard much of the wickedness of the camp, but at this time the Spirit of God has so far subdued the power of sin in the soul, that I heard but one oath, and did not see any immoral conduct during my sojourn. To God's name be all the glory.

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. [336] 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, [337] 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: [338]

‘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 [339] 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 [340] 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. [341]

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.

camp of Ninth Virginia Cavalry, near Raccoon Ford, September 30.
There has been for several weeks past a most glorious revival going on in our regiment, conducted by our respected and highly esteemed chaplain, Rev. C. H. Boggs. By the blessing of God his efforts have been crowned with great success, and many souls have been brought to realize the inestimable value of a Saviour's love. We wish this good work to continue. It is still going on, but we wish to increase it—to extend its influence, if possible, until every man in the regiment is convinced of his lost and ruined condition, is brought to see his danger, and persuaded to fly for safety to Him who alone can save. There is already a marked change in the moral deportment of the whole regiment. But, in order to carry on this work as it should be done, it was necessary that all the Christians in the regiment should be united, and contend side by side and shoulder to shoulder in the cause of Christ. Therefore we (all the professors of the religion of Christ, who are members of the Ninth, without regard to denomination or sect, and only aiming at one great end, viz., ‘the immortal welfare of our fellow-men’) have united ourselves in an association known as the ‘Soldiers' Christian Association of the Ninth Virginia Calvary.’ We wish to take immediate steps to provide the regiment with religious reading matter of every kind, but particularly papers and tracts. . . . .

H. B. Richards, Cor. Sec. S. C. A. Ninth Va. Cav., W. H. F. Lee's Brigade.

camp, Gordon's Brigade, September 28.
Brother Thos. H. Pritchard and myself commenced preaching about a week ago to the soldiers in General Wright's Brigade about a mile distant, and are now preaching to Gordon's Brigade. There is some interest in the former, and a great deal in the latter. Last night fifty or sixty came forward for prayer, many of them deeply affected. Yesterday evening Brother Pritchard [342] baptized seventeen in the Rapidan, in sight of the enemy's pickets, who looked on as though they took some interest in the proceeding. Brother Pritchard is enjoying his work very much. May his banishment from Baltimore contribute largely to the salvation of Confederate soldiers.

camp of Thirtieth Virginia Regiment, Corse's Brigade, near Carter's Station, Tennessee, September 29.
In these times of sorrow and affliction how delightful it is to see the manifestation of the presence and power of God in the conviction and conversion of sinners! Every day we are called upon to record the loving-kindness of God in the conversion of those who are dear to us. It has been my privilege recently to bear testimony to the work of grace which has been going on in this brigade. Many of the dear soldiers, who have enlisted in their country's cause, are now enlisted under the bright banner of the Cross. Upon my arrival here I was pleased to learn that a glorious revival of religion was going on; and although the meetings had not been held regularly, in consequence of the continued moving from one position to another, yet the interest is still on the increase. The meetings are conducted by the Rev. Mr. August, the faithful chaplain of the Fifteenth Virginia, assisted by Captain Willis of the same regiment. A large number have professed faith in Christ, while many others are deeply concerned on account of sin. To-day Brother Willis baptized fourteen, seven of whom are from his regiment. Although this regiment has been without a chaplain for some time, I am glad to inform you that there seems to be a feeling of awakening existing among them. On last evening I held a meeting, and gave an invitation for any one to come forward for prayer; and while we were singing eight came forward, four of whom were converted. I only hold services as circumstances will permit, and distribute such reading matter as I can procure, and look to God for His blessing on these feeble instrumentalities. I have met with a cordial reception, both from the officers and men of this regiment, and am earnestly entreated to remain with this brigade.

M. D. Anderson, Army Evangelist.

Elder J. E. King, chaplain of the Fourteenth Tennessee Regiment, [343] 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 [344] seen and heard more confusion on Sabbath, at camp-meeting, than I heard and saw last Sunday in three brigades of soldiers.’

camp near Pisgah Church, Orange county, Va., October 3, 1863.
. . . . But the chief design of this is to let our friends know, through your paper, of the continuance of the glorious state of things in our regiment. Several more have professed an interest in the great salvation. On Saturday last five were “buried with Christ in baptism” by Brother J. W. Jones, of the Thirteenth Virginia Infantry, and another on Tuesday—all of whom, we hope, arose to “walk in newness of life.” A number are still waiting to join other denominations. . . . .

Oh, what a contrast is there in our regiment, when compared with last year this time. Now, instead of the songs of revelry and mirth to which we used to listen, at night the forest is made to resound with songs which arise like sweet incense from new-born souls, to the Captain of their salvation—the stately steppings of Jesus are heard in our camps—the Holy Spirit is wooing hearts in our army—soldiers are enlisting under the unfurled banner of King Immanuel. . . . .

Yours truly,

Richmond College, October 6.
I spent four days of last week with Kemper's Brigade, stationed at Taylorsville. Brother Jno. W. Ward, chaplain of the Third Regiment, baptized eight persons the day before my arrival. Five had also been received by the Methodist chaplain of the Eleventh Regiment, Rev. Thos. C. Jennings. Two others joined the Episcopal Church. Meetings are still in progress at night, conducted by the excellent brethren above-named. Christians in this brigade seem to be active and united, and I trust they will receive a great blessing. The previous week I spent at the same place, with Cook's Brigade, and had the pleasure of baptizing six soldiers. About the same number had solicited the ordinance at my hands, and would have been baptized on Saturday, but, on the previous night, the remainder of the brigade was removed to Gordonsville, whither a part of it had gone previously. Brother Howerton is a chaplain in this brigade. [345] I also spent a week with Wofford's Brigade early in September. Here I found only one chaplain, Rev. Mr. Flinn, of the Presbyterian Church. I was received cordially and treated affectionately, by both officers and men of all these brigades. During each visit I was impressed with the conviction, that the army is an inviting field of labor, and is always ready to welcome the evangelist.

camp near Orange Court House, October 7.
The work of the Lord is still on the increase in this army. In every direction meetings are in progress, at which hundreds are anxiously inquiring after the Saviour of sinners. Even where it has been deemed best to suspend the regular series of services prayer-meetings are held several times a day, conducted for the most part by those who have themselves recently chosen the service of God. These young converts sing, pray and exhort, and their labors are made instrumental in the conversion of their comrades. A Baptist chaplain told me yesterday, that every day or two he was called on to baptize soldiers, brought to him by the young converts, the fruits of their prayer-meetings. To-day I rode twelve miles. All along the way, regiments, battalions and brigades were encamped, and here and there on the wayside I saw men sitting down reading their Testaments and tracts. Brother Renfroe expects, this week, to baptize thirty-five. Brother Cundy has baptized sixty. I suppose that fully 500 have united with the Baptist Church since the army has been here. At Gordonsville I found a precious revival in progress. I preached twice to large congregations at that place, and in the afternoon witnessed the baptism of eleven, making thirty-seven baptized by Brother Howerton, of Cook's Brigade. Permit me to say, that I find our evangelists and colporters are greatly encouraged. Almost every sermon they preach is being blessed to the spiritual good of some soul, while the pages of truth they distribute are eagerly read. We need, however, funds to support those engaged in this good work. I beg that the pastors and Churches at home will keep us provided with the needed contributions, the “sinews of war.”

A. E. D.

Richmond, October 10.
Brother Dickinson: I herewith furnish you a short statement [346] of my labors for the four weeks ending to-day, that I have labored as the representative of your board. I have preached twenty-one sermons, distributed 7,000 pages of tracts, witnessed thirty-six immersions, and aided in the examination of twentynine candidates for admission into our Church; besides, quite a number gave their names, wishing to join other denominations. My labors were in Cobb's Legion of Cavalry, Colonel Cutt's Artillery Battalion, and the brigades of Daniel, Ramseur, Battle and Doles, but mostly in the last-named, which is composed of Georgia troops. I found a great work of grace in progress in General Doles' Brigade, which had been increasing in interest for several weeks, under the preaching and labors of Brother A. M. Marshall, of Georgia, aided by such help as he could get from other chaplains and visiting ministers. I remained with him as a recruit for two weeks, preaching once and sometimes twice a day in Doles' Brigade, and others in camps near by. I found in General Battle's Brigade, for which I preached twice, a precious revival spirit. Large and attentive crowds came to listen to preaching, and by fifties would flock around us for prayers. I can't forbear to mention, as one blessed feature of the work, the reclaiming of backsliders. Quite a number of cases came under my notice. Then again, many good, pious brethren, who had not fallen into gross sins, but had been backward in expressing themselves, feel as if a great pressure had been taken off them, and they not only breathe easier, but can now speak out for the Saviour. But I forbear making further comment now, as I have many I could make, and will perhaps offer them for the public eye, in some of our religious papers. My excuse for not doing more this month is, that I was indisposed a few days the first week, so as not to be able to work.

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 [347] 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!’

Messrs. Editors: Having spent several months in preaching to our soldiers, I have reluctantly yielded to the wish of the board, and resumed the work of collecting funds for army colportage. It is not because I love the work of an agency less, but because I love that of preaching more. Never have I realized so much pleasure in a summer's work before. Never have I seen any class of persons so appreciative of the Gospel as the Confederate soldiers generally. So far as my observation has extended, it is only necessary for a few sermons to be preached, in any regiment or brigade, to secure the conviction and conversion of sinners. A general predisposition to religion is everywhere apparent. Thousands, who, in the beginning of the war, were not only thoughtless, but profane and reckless, are now either happy Christians or trembling inquirers. It is impossible for those who have not been in the army to form a correct idea of the amount of interest manifested throughout the ranks. If many of the pastors of Churches would “steal awhile away” from their home labors, and go to the army, they would feel amply repaid for any little sacrifice of comfort incident to camp life, by seeing that their “work of faith was not in vain in the Lord.” Brethren and sisters of the Churches, send your pastors for a few weeks, at least, to publish salvation to perishing sinners in the army. They will return to you far better qualified to promote your spiritual interests, by reason of their sojourn among the soldiers. I have witnessed, during the summer, the hopeful conversion of some hundreds of souls, although I have preached to comparatively few brigades of the army. It is estimated that more than 2,000 soldiers have professed religion in General Lee's army since their return from Maryland. The army is now moving, but will soon be at rest again. Immediately after a battle, when men's minds are impressed with God's goodness in sparing their lives, is a most favorable time for presenting the claims of the Gospel. Our board still desires to [348] employ missionaries. Who will go at once? Before I close, allow me to say, that officers generally, and General Gordon, of Early's Division, particularly, treated me kindly and respectfully. General Gordon is a man after my own heart. Should this “cruel war” continue, and his life be spared, I predict for him a high place among the leaders of our hosts. May he receive from his country and his God, all that his true courage and rare Christian virtues so richly deserve!


Recent movements have, of course, been (humanly speaking) rather unfavorable to the religious interests of the army. But up to the time of the move, the interest was unabated, and I doubt not is as great now really, though there is not quite so good an opportunity for developing it, as the nights are almost too cool for lengthy outdoor exercises, and the men are generally pretty busy in the day building huts, etc. Yet a good deal of preaching is being done, many prayer-meetings, Bible-classes, etc., are held, and the work of the Lord is prospering in our midst. I expect to baptize twenty-eight to-morrow in Hazel river. . . . I see every day increased evidences of the genuineness of this work in the army. I have been particularly struck with the fact, that out of scores I have called on to lead in prayer, not one has refused—and this is the testimony of chaplains generally. Many of them, too, lead the meetings, exhort, etc. And may we not hope that God in His providence designs in the army to answer the question that now wells up from many an anxious heart, “Where are the preachers of the next generation to come from?” that He designs that there shall go forth from the ranks of our noble army, many who shall be useful heralds of the Gospel of peace. Let this be the subject of special prayer throughout the land. It is rejoicing our hearts that the Lord is in some measure visiting the Churches at home with outpourings of His Spirit. This will operate reciprocally upon the army. A chaplain gave me a beautiful illustration of it this morning. On a list which he handed me of those who wished to join the Baptist Church, there were eight or ten who desired to connect themselves with a single Church in North Carolina, and upon inquiry he found that that Church had recently enjoyed a precious season of revival. Thus it operates—the prayer of the soldier for his [349] loved ones at home is heard, and the prayer for the absent soldier boy is not unheeded. But I must close, as I fear I'll make your readers rejoice that my lengthy communications are only


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.’

We have had some precious seasons with the soldiers, who have thronged the house of the Lord, that they might be taught the way of life. Take the following as a specimen of the cases of interest among this class of our hearers: At the prayermeeting one afternoon, after the congregation was dismissed, a soldier came up and spoke to us, but believing him to be a member of the Church, we said nothing to him about his soul, until he remarked, “I came here this evening, hoping that you would speak to me about the Saviour, and though you have dismissed the congregation, I must beg you to wait a few minutes and give me some instruction.” The next day he united with the Church, and whenever called upon he has led in prayer, besides speaking a word, now and then, of exhortation. Another soldier, concerned about his soul, cried aloud, “O that my mother were here!” “Why do you want her here?” “Because she has so long been praying for me, and now I have found the Saviour.” The effect cannot be described. Every eye was filled with tears, for all knew something of a mother's love. The praying mother, away off in the far South, seemed to stand before us rejoicing over her penitent boy, now a fellow-pilgrim with her to the better land. On another occasion a trooper, who had that day reached the city with prisoners from the valley, was present. He was convicted of sin, found peace in believing, and was the most happy man that I have seen since the war has [350] been in progress. His love for the people of God was such that he went around among them, giving to each the hand of fellowship and Christian affection: “I will go back to the valley a new man,” said he; “the love of God burns in my heart, and I desire now to speak for Jesus among my comrades.”

‘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 [351] 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.

Charleston, December 28.
I am glad to inform you that the good work commenced in the Twenty-sixth Virginia Regiment at Burton's farm still continues. Brother Wiatt (chaplain) has baptized fifteen since they reached Charleston, and others are waiting to be baptized, and still others are concerned about their souls. They have nightly prayer-meetings, and after the meeting is over singing and other devotional exercises are continued in the different messes until [352] bedtime. One of the most interesting features in this revival is, that the young converts, almost without an exception, take hold of the work, and pray, and frequently exhort in public, and may often be seen conversing with the unconverted privately about the precious Saviour they have found. The troops around here (though much scattered), like those in Virginia, all seem anxious to hear the Gospel. I preached last night to one company, and I suppose there were from seventy-five to 100 present.

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

1 Dr. Bennett's ‘Great Revival.’

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