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Chapter 12: progress of the work in 1864-65.

There were some peculiar difficulties in the way of our work during the period embraced in this chapter. The severe weather of the winter and early spring made outdoor services rarely possible, and the skies had scarcely begun to smile upon us when General Grant crossed the Rapidan. Lee at once advanced and attacked him, and there ensued the death-grapple from ‘the Wilderness’ to Petersburg, when we marched or fought, or were busy entrenching nearly every day. And then followed the siege of Petersburg and defence of Richmond, when our little army (reduced at last to 33,000 men to guard forty miles of entrenchments) was on starvation rations, and was yet forced to do an amount of marching, fighting, digging and watching that would have exhausted much sooner any other troops of which history gives any account, and all of which was very decidedly unfavorable to religious services, or any evangelical work among the soldiers.

And yet the good work went graciously on, there were precious seasons along the line of the Rapidan up to the very opening of the campaign. Many were converted on the march, in the trenches, on the battle-field, in the hospital—and the Richmond and Petersburg lines, despite their scenes of carnage and blood, were made glorious by the presence of Christ in the trenches.

I remember that the very day on which our line was broken below Petersburg, necessitating the evacuation of Richmond and Petersburg, and that sad march which terminated at Appomattox Court House, I had an appointment to preach and to baptize at the very point at which the lines were broken, and had been laboring there for some days in one of the most interesting revivals which I witnessed.

Indeed, the revivals along the forty miles of Confederate entrenchments, where there were about sixty chapels, during the winter of 1864—65 were as general and as powerful as any we [354] had at all, and only ceased when the army was disbanded. Really they did not cease then, for in the great revivals with which our Churches in Virginia and the South were blessed during the summer and autumn of 1865 a very large proportion of the converts were from among our returned soldiers. I witnessed myself a large number of professions of conversion among them, and in the meetings in which I preached (acting as an independent evangelist from the mountains to the seaboard after I had ‘laid by’ the corn and threshed the wheat, for I took off my coat and went into the field to work on my return from the army), I always found our returned soldiers the most tender and impressible part of the congregations.

Not as claiming by any means any special activity or special success, but merely as illustrating how God helped us in our labors, and blessed our poor efforts during this period, I give the following report of one of the missionaries for the year beginning October I, 1863, and ending September 30, 1864. It may be proper to say that on October I, 1864, I accepted an appointment from the Virginia Baptist Sunday-school and Publication Board as missionary-chaplain to A. P. Hill's Corps, and that this report only embraces my labors for the year named:

Headquarters, Third Corps, A. N. Va., near Petersburg, October 1, 1864.
Rev. A. E. Dickinson, General Superintendent:
Dear Brother: I have given you from time to time informal reports of my work, but now that a year has elapsed since I entered the service of your board, it is perhaps expected that I should send you a more formal report of my labors.

I have confined myself chiefly to those regiments and brigades most destitute of ministerial labor; but would take occasion to say that I have been treated by the chaplains of all denominations with uniform courtesy and kindness, and have invariably found both officers and men ready to afford me every assistance in the prosecution of my work.

In the past year I have preached 161 sermons—generally to large and attentive congregations. I have baptized 222. I have no means of knowing the number of Bibles, Testaments, tracts, religious papers, etc., I have distributed, but I have given large attention to this most important work, have tried always to keep a supply on hand, and have seldom gone to the hospitals [355] or among the troops without scattering tracts or papers; nor have I the means of knowing definitely the number of prayer-meetings I have conducted. An important part of my work has been to endeavor to secure chaplains for the vacant regiments. I have been instrumental in securing the appointment of twelve chaplains. I could have secured the appointment of a number of others could I have found suitable brethren to take the places. Several excellent men could be gotten from the ranks, but for the refusal of the present secretary of war to make such appointments. I trust that I have also been of some service in assisting ministers coming to labor for a short time in the army, with information as to the most suitable places for them to labor, etc.

The past six months have been very unfavorable to preaching in the army, owing to the unceasing activity which has prevailed, but when denied an opportunity of preaching I have found an abundant work in the hospitals, in pointing the sick and wounded to the great Physician. I might relate many incidents illustrating the eagerness of the soldiers to hear the Gospel, and its abundant success amongst them, but many such statements have been made in the papers, and I deem it unnecessary at present to do more than give this brief summary of my labors.

In reviewing the past, I am constrained to ‘thank God and take courage.’

Yours in the Gospel,

J. Wm. Jones, Army Evangelist.

But, having made this general statement of the work during this period, I must now give some of the details.

The extracts which follow from army letters and newspaper reports will show at the same time the religious status of the army and the spirit of our workers and of the soldiers:

The religious condition of our army at present is both healthful and hopeful. Now that the weather has become unfavorable for frequent outdoor services, many of the regiments have neatly constructed log chapels, and many other chaplains, in lieu of this convenience, substitute the social prayer-meeting from hut to hut, Bible-classes, tract distribution, private conversation, etc., for the more public ministrations of the word. [356] There is very great demand for good reading of all sorts, and the friends of the soldier can do nothing more acceptable to him than to send good books, papers, magazines, etc., to Brother Fry, at our depository, who will see them properly distributed. By the way, our depository, under Brother Fry's effective management, is proving a complete success and a great blessing to the army. Not only are chaplains supplied, but pious men in many of the regiments without chaplains, get from it packages of tracts and papers, and go as colporters to their comrades.

The work of supplying the vacant regiments with chaplains proceeds rather slowly, but something is being done. The offer of our board to assist brethren who cannot make a support from the governmental salary, has had already a happy effect. Brethren who may have any intention of entering the chaplaincy ought to make application at once, as there is a great work to be done this winter. By the way, I wonder if the receipts of our board are commensurate with their increased expense in aiding chaplains? They certainly ought to be, for surely, if ever a board deserved to have a warm place in the hearts of the people, and be liberally sustained, the “Virginia Baptist Sunday-School and Publication Board” is that one. I mean no disparagement of others, when I say, that, in the wide circulation and excellency of its publications, the number and efficiency of its colporters and evangelists, and its success in the great work in which it stood alone the first year of the war, our board, under the energetic management of its superintendent, has had no equal. It needs funds for the prosecution of its great work, and has claims upon the brotherhood which will not be disregarded. Brother, whom the Lord has blessed with plenty in these troublesome times, send on at once to Brother Dickinson a liberal New Year's offering for your brave defenders.

occasional. Camp near Orange Court House, January 4, 1864.

camp Twenty-Sixth Virginia, General Wise's Brigade, near Charleston, S. C., January 6.
It gives me great pleasure to inform you and the friends of our regiment, through the Herald, that the Lord continues to pour out His Spirit upon us. During the three months and a half of our camping here, about twenty-five of our officers and [357] men have professed Christ. I have already baptized fifteen, and several more will follow. Conversions are reported almost every week. Prayer-meetings are held in all of the companies nightly, except when some providential circumstance prevents. A great deal of zeal and love for Christ are exhibited by both old and young professors. We have a flourishing Christian Association, composed of some two hundred or more members, whose stated meetings are once in two weeks. We have preaching every Sabbath. We get a goodly number of copies of several religious papers, which are very eagerly read by converted and unconverted. We receive thirty copies of the Herald, which is far too small a number. Will not the liberality of our Virginia brethren increase it to fifty or seventy-five? Our officers and men are nearly all supplied with Bibles and Testaments. We are enjoying excellent health, well fixed and in good spirits. We don't cease to remember our Churches in our prayers. Do they remember us?

Wm. E. Wiatt, Chaplain Twenty-Sixth Virginia Regiment.

There is a company in one of our Virginia regiments which numbers eighty men, all of whom, except ten, are now connected with some evangelical denomination. Bible-classes have been formed, embracing the entire company, and the little handful who are yet “out of Christ” give manifest tokens of deep religious impressions.

‘There is a Bible-class in every company of Doles's Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia.’

It gives me great pleasure to report, that our meeting continues with unabated interest. About seventy-five have been hopefully converted. Last night was truly a refreshing time with us. It was difficult to get away from Church. Many of the inquirers refused to leave after the benediction, and of course we stayed with them. We had three or four additional prayers, and before we left the house (which was about half-past 9), several others professed. I do not think I have ever seen such interest manifested on the part of the unconverted. Men may sometimes be seen an hour before services, running to the house, in order that they may procure seats. They come from [358] regiments two miles off. I do not think I could consent to leave here now, but I leave those behind who have promised to carry on the meeting indefinitely. I have been engaged in this meeting for nearly four weeks. I do not believe such extensive revivals as we are now having through our beloved country have ever been heard of since the days of Pentecost.

Camp letter, no. 15.

Dear Brethren; At our chaplains' meeting, the other day, I was enabled very nearly to complete my list of chaplains in the Infantry and Artillery of the army. The statistics you publish from the Central Presbyterian, are incomplete, and I give you the following as about the correct statement: Total number of chaplains in Ewell's and Hill's Corps, 86; Methodists, 36; Baptists, 20; Presbyterians, 20; Episcopalians, 6; Roman Catholics, 3; Lutherans, I. There are still fifty regiments and battalions without chaplains, but it will be remembered that when our Chaplains' Association sent out, just a year ago, an appeal to the Churches for more laborers in the army, over half the regiments were without chaplains. The large increase will be gratifying not only to the Christian public, but to all who rightly estimate the military power of religion in the army. A year ago there were whole brigades without chaplains, and regiments which had had scarcely a sermon, but this has ceased to be. There is not a brigade which has not one or more chaplains, and the supply of missionary labor has been far greater than during any previous year. Indeed, but for the fact that a large number of chaplains have resigned, the supply would nearly equal the demand. The labors of these messengers of salvation have been wonderfully blessed during the past year, and in contemplating what has been done, we may well “thank God and take courage.” But there is one thought which strikes me painfully in looking over these statistics—the proportion of Baptist chaplains to those of our Methodist and Presbyterian brethren is so small, when we consider the relative membership of each Church. I suppose that there are about as many Baptists as Methodists, and over twice as many as Presbyterians in the army—and yet our Presbyterian brethren have as many chaplains as we, and our Methodist brethren almost twice as many. I rejoice that the ministry of these denominations have awakened to some appreciation of what they owe to the army. I mourn that our [359] Baptist ministry seem behind them in this respect. Brethren of the ministry, there is still an open door to this widespread field of usefulness; and I call upon you to consider whether it is not your duty to enter it. And by the way, I would respectfully ask of our older brethren in the ministry, if it is necessary for Congress (according to the law passed by the Senate) to extend the conscript age to fifty-five, does not this call upon some of them to give themselves to the work of army evangelization? If the age of those who are to do the fighting is to be extended, ought not the age of those who are to do the preaching in the army be also extended? Is it right that our chaplaincies should be filled almost entirely by young men—many of them with no experience as preachers? True, most of our useful ministers have families whom they would have to leave, and separation from loved ones is a bitter trial, but then our soldiers have to endure this, besides risking their lives, and it would seem right that they should be willing to make a like sacrifice in preaching to them the glad tidings. . . . ‘All quiet along the lines’ is the stereotyped phrase which will probably express our military status for weeks to come. The Yankees made a cavalry raid to Madison Court House, the other day, in which they made a few captures and returned the same evening. The spirits of our army were never better. The men are re-enlisting for the war, wherever an effort is made to get them to do so, and there is withal a spirit of content and hopefulness which the people at home would do well to imitate. The rations now issued are better than they were some time ago, and are likely still to improve. General Lee has issued a beautiful address upon the temporary scarcity of rations, and gives example as well as precept. At a dinner to which he was invited the other day, he refused the rich viands with which the table was loaded, and made his dinner off of beef and bread—remarking that he could not consent to be feasting, while there was a scarcity of rations among his men. If a similar spirit existed amongst the good people at home, the scarcity of provisions in the army would indeed be temporary. If, instead of constantly croaking about the dangers of starvation, the people would reduce their rations in order to feed the army, this goblin would soon disappear. The soldiers are grateful for the sympathies bestowed upon them so lavishly, but they say that they can't live on sympathy—they must have meat and bread as well. Wright's Georgia Brigade is [360] now being blessed with a revival, and I trust that other brigades will soon experience like blessings. I have heard of upwards of thirty chapels in the different camps, and there are doubtless others. Brethren who can get off would find this a most favorable time to visit and preach for the regiments and brigades which have chapels-especially those of them which are without chaplains.

occasional. Army of Northern Virginia, February 3, 1864.

It is due to the denomination which, as a member of it, I claimed the right to censure in the above letter for failure to send their proportion of chaplains to the army to say that they, in some measure at least, redeemed themselves by taking the lead in colportage work, and in employing a large number of army missionaries and evangelists.

The Domestic Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention had at work at this period seventy-eight missionaries to the soldiers, and supplemented the salaries of eleven chaplains, while the Virginia Baptist Publication Board had in its employ over 100 colporters and army evangelists, and other State boards of the denomination were doing similar work.

We have seen that the Presbyterian Board appointed eighty missionaries, including some of their ablest men.

Rev. Dr. Bennett in his ‘Great Revival,’ gives the following as to the appointments of the great denomination with which he is connected, and which fully redeemed its well-known reputation for missionary zeal by its ‘abundant labors’ in this great harvest-field:

The earnest purpose of the home Churches to promote the army revival was manifested by the number of ministers sent among the soldiers. We give a list of those who are sent by the Mission Board of the Methodist Episcopal Church South:

Revs. Leo. Rosserand J. C. Granberry in the Army of Northern Virginia; J. B. McFerrin, C. W. Miller, W. Mooney, B. P. Ransom, and W. Burr in the Army of Tennessee; J. S. Lane and E. B. Duncan in the Department of Florida; J. J. Wheat and H. J. Harris in Mississippi; W. C. Johnson to General S. D. Lee's Corps, North Mississippi; J. J. Hutchinson to army about Mobile; and beyond the Mississippi river, J. C. Keener to Louisiana troops, and B. T. Kavanaugh and E. M. Marvin to Missouri and Arkansas troops.


Besides these, and others probably whose names have escaped us, the Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church South emulated other Churches in sending forth laborers into the great harvest.

Rev. Dr. Myers, of the Southern Christian Advocate, in noticing these facts, says:

The Mississippi Conference appointed one missionary and two chaplains to the army; Memphis, one missionary and six chaplains; Alabama, four missionaries and twelve chaplains; Florida, one missionary and two chaplains; Georgia, eight missionaries and eight chaplains; South Carolina, thirteen chaplains; North Carolina, two missionaries and eight chaplains; Virginia, two missionaries and twenty chaplains. Here are nineteen missionaries and seventy-one chaplains from these eight Conferences. Of course, the Conferences beyond our lines furnish a number also; but except in the case of the general missionaries, sent out by the parent board, we can give no guess even as to their numbers.

The Georgia Conference determined, if possible, to furnish one missionary to each Georgia Brigade, and at the session of 1863 the work was begun by sending seven ministers: ‘R. B. Lester to Jackson's Brigade, Army of Tennessee; A. M. Thigpen to Colquitt's Brigade, near Charleston; J. W. Turner to the troops in and around Savannah, and on the coast below there; G. W. Yarbrough to Wofford's Brigade, General Longstreet's army; T. H. Stewart to Thomas's Brigade, and P. O. Harper to Gordon's Brigade, Army of Virginia; and L. B. Payne temporarily to visit the hospitals between Atlanta and Guyton C. Railroad, until a brigade is selected for him. Another, T. F. Pierce, is now in the State military service, and will receive his appointment to a brigade when his term expires.’

But, to return from this digression, I give the following extracts from letters which I wrote to the Christian Index, Macon, Georgia:

camp, near Orange Court House, Virginia, February 10, 1864.
We held, on yesterday, a very pleasant meeting of our Chaplains' Association. A large number of chaplains were present, and the reports elicited showed a very healthful religious feeling throughout the army. A revival was reported as in progress in Davis's Mississippi Brigade, in which nine had professed conversion, and seventy were inquiring the way to life. There is also [362] an interesting state of things in Kirkland's North Carolina Brigade, and in the First North Carolina Regiment. The good work commenced in Wilcox's (old) Brigade last summer seems to be reviving. In one of the regiments there I have heard of men going out in the snow barefooted to attend the nightly prayer-meeting, which was held out of doors for want of a chapel. We had no report from Wright's Georgia Brigade, but I trust that the revival reported there is still in progress. In a number of other regiments and brigades increased interest in the prayermeetings, Bible-classes, etc., was reported. A committee appointed at the last meeting to visit General Lee with a view to see if something could not be done for the better observance of the Sabbath, reported that they were received with the utmost cordiality, and presented an order on the subject just issued from Headquarters. General Lee was present at this meeting and seemed deeply interested in the proceedings. He is a fast friend of the chaplains, and manifests a lively interest in their work.

There was an interesting statement made of the increase of laborers in the army since February, 1863. Then, over half of the regiments were unsupplied with chaplains, and there were whole brigades without a single chaplain; now, over two-thirds of the regiments have chaplains, and the number of missionaries is much larger than ever before. Still, there is need of more chaplains-and especially of more Baptist chaplains, as we have nothing like our proportion. The only thing that would palliate the conscription of ministers would be that it would fill up all the vacant chaplaincies.

I learn, from a private source, that Rev. L. W. Allen, of Virginia (widely known and loved), who was captured while serving as captain of a cavalry company, is engaged at Fort Johnson in carrying on a very interesting revival, in which a number of our officers have professed conversion and been baptized in the lake. How wonderful are the ways of Providence!

army of Northern Virginia, March 1, 1864.
Perhaps I can give a better idea of our work in the army by a few quotations from my diary. Saturday, February 20. Preached to a large and very attentive congregation in Davis's Mississippi Brigade, and after preaching received five for baptism. They are having a most precious revival in this brigade, and Rev. Mr. Witherspoon, the efficient chaplain of the Forty-second Mississippi, [363] is alone, very much broken down, and calling loudly for help. Already they have had a large number to profess conversion, and the number of inquirers is daily increasing.

Sunday, February 21. Preached this morning at Mahone's Virginia Brigade. Their large chapel was densely crowded, and I have rarely preached to a more attentive congregation. There are only two chaplains in this brigade of five regiments, but they are working men and the lay brethren are earnestly aiding them in their good work. Besides their chapel services, they have regular Bible-classes and prayer-meetings in nearly every company in the brigade, and classes in spelling, reading, writing, English grammar, geography, astronomy, mathematics, Latin, Greek, etc. There are a number of men who did not know their alphabet, but who are now reading very well. There are men coming forward every week to make a public profession of religion, and the genuineness of the glorious revival they had last fall is attested by the almost uniform consistency and activity of the young converts. After a substantial camp dinner, I rode over to Wright's Georgia Brigade and got there just as their Sunday-school was being opened. They had a large attendance of deeply interested young men, and I felt that it was good to be there. I taught a class of some twenty, and have rarely spent a more pleasant, or (to me, at least) profitable hour; there was a sharpened attention to the lesson, an eager inquiry after the meaning of particular passages, and an intelligent expression of opinion which is rarely found in the best regulated Sabbathschools in the Churches at home. I turned away feeling that if I had been unable to interest or profit the class, they had certainly done both for me. At night the chapel was filled with eager listeners, as I tried to point them to the ‘friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’ After preaching, I received five for baptism, and went to my quarters (four miles off), enjoying the moonlight ride and meditating on the great work to be done in our army.

[I may add here, as likely to interest your Georgia readers especially, that there have been recently some twenty professions of religion in Wright's Brigade, and there are still a number of inquirers. They have only two chaplains, Rev. Messrs. Cook and Stokes (Methodist), and while they are zealous and efficient they cannot do all the work to be done. They say that they would like to have a Baptist chaplain in the brigade, as a large proportion of the men are Baptists. Cannot the Baptists of [364] Georgia send on some earnest, working man of God to labor as chaplain or missionary among these noble men?]

Monday, February 22. I went to Davis's Brigade this morning to hear a lecture from the Rev. B. T. Lacy on ‘The Life and Christian Character of General T. J. Jackson.’ The lecturer was well prepared for his task by his intimate association with the lamented hero, and for two hours he enchained the audience which, far too large for the chapel, assembled out in the open air. It was a fit and eloquent tribute to a great and good man. After the lecture I received three others from Davis's Brigade and one from Wright's, and we repaired to a mill-pond near by, where some of the brethren had cut off the ice from a space sufficient for our purpose. We sang an appropriate hymn, earnest prayer was offered, and appropriate passages of Scripture read, and, in the presence of a large and solemn congregation, I ‘went down into the water’ and ‘buried with Christ in baptism’ the fourteen young brethren whom I had received.

Tuesday, February 23. We had to-day a very interesting meeting of our Chaplains' Association. After an earnest and practical sermon from Rev. D. B. Ewing, we had a very interesting report on the religious condition of the army, showing revivals in several of the brigades, and a hopeful state of religion in all. Nearly every regiment has its Bible-classes and prayer-meetings, thousands of pages of religious reading, and all the copies of the word of God that can be obtained, are regularly distributed, and great attention is being given to the primary schools, in which many poor fellows are being taught to read and write. These reports clearly indicate that now is the time for preachers to come to the army either as temporary missionaries or permanent chaplains. A committee was appointed to prepare an address setting forth the religious condition and wants of the army, and one to devise (if possible) some plans to increase the number of Bibles and Testaments for circulation among the soldiers. Various other matters of interest claimed the attention of the meeting, and we adjourned feeling that our meeting had been profitable as well as pleasant.

Wednesday, February 24. Preached this morning to Kirkland's North Carolina Brigade, which is on picket near ‘Rapidan Station.’ As they had lost the use of their chapel by coming on picket, the services had to be held out of doors, but there was a large and attentive congregation present, despite the [365] blustering day. After preaching, I received and baptized in the Rapidan nine hopeful converts. At night I preached in Scales's North Carolina Brigade to a very large congregation, and when at the close of the service an invitation was given for all Christians and all who desired the special prayers of God's people to kneel, the entire congregation promptly knelt.

And thus I might go on, but these quotations must suffice for my purpose, which is to show our brethren at home the great work daily claiming our attention in the army, and to earnestly send them the Macedonian cry, ‘Come over and help us.’ For several days past I have been laboring with the artillery of Ewell's Corps, amongst whom there is a good deal of religious interest. Rev. Dr. Burrows, of Richmond, has been laboring with them for a week, with his usual success. He has also delivered his admirable lecture (which I am glad to say will soon be published) on ‘Colonel Lewis Minor Coleman, the Christian Scholar and Soldier,’ and as Colonel Coleman was attached to this command at the time of his death, there was the deepest interest in the lecture, and great good must have been accomplished by its delivery.

I have been on the ‘sick list’ for the past week and have not, therefore, been able to visit the camps to much extent, but learn that there is a great deal of religious interest in many of the brigades, and deeply interesting revivals in several of them. I have engagements to baptize in several of the regiments as soon as I am well enough to do so. These candidates professed conversion under the labors of a Methodist and two Presbyterian chaplains, and desiring to join Baptist Churches these brethren promptly requested me to baptize them. I have had since I have been in the army a large number of requests of this sort. And it gives me pleasure to testify to the courtesy and kindness with which I have been treated by the chaplains of the different denominations, all of whom know that I am a decided Baptist. Indeed, there seems to be in the army a truce to denominational Bickerings—there are no sectarian sermons preached and no sectarian tracts circulated, but all seem to work together to make men Christians, and then leave it to their consciences and their Bible with what denomination they will connect themselves.

J. W. J.


I have spent a few days of late with the artillery of Hill's Corps, only one battalion of which, I believe, has a chaplain. Brother M. D. Anderson, our colporter, is laboring very faithfully in this field. A few days since one of the battalions, in which his efforts have been blessed to the good of many souls, sent him $100, and a letter expressive of their high appreciation of his work. Brother J. M. Hart, of the Crenshaw Battery, gave me the following account of a work of grace with which his battalion had been blessed: “ Last summer, while we were in Orange, one of your colporters (Brother Clopton) visited us. He conversed with the men, supplied them with reading matter, and from day to day held prayer-meetings with us. The Divine Spirit was bestowed upon the effort and almost every man was more or less concerned about his soul. Many professed conversion and united with God's people.” . . . .

A. E. D.

Brother Geo. F. Bagby, South Carolina, writes:

‘Since I last wrote you I have visited portions of Wise's Brigade, preached several times on James' Island (the number of hopeful conversions during our meeting there reached one hundred), and have also visited several points for collecting purposes.’

Quite a revival is in progress in Colonel Carter's command. Night before last six came forward to ask for the prayers of God's people, while last night four made a public profession of faith in Christ, and seven presented themselves as inquirers. Rev. A. B. Brown is greatly encouraged and delighted that he has found such an inviting field. The Secretary of War has promised to assign him to Carter's and Braxton's Battalions. Major Braxton's command is erecting a chapel, and as soon as it is completed a protracted meeting will be commenced there. Major Braxton, whose gallantry has been conspicuous on many memorable battle-fields, is a Baptist, and is deeply interested in all that pertains to the spiritual good of his men. He gives a cordial welcome to missionaries and colporters, and greatly aids them in gaining access to those under his command. Colonel Carter, too, is a Christian gentleman who has done great good by the efforts he has made in this direction, as well as by his own consistent example. I expect to spend several days with [367] Brother Brown and then visit other portions of the army, where I have promised to aid in protracted meetings. Beyond all doubt this is the best season for such meetings.

A. E. D.

March 3, 1864.
Now is the time to preach in the army. There is a half formed intention on the part of many of our brethren that they will come to the army when the weather opens, and spend a while in preaching to the soldiers. Let me urge that they come at once. There are comfortable houses of worship (thirty-seven in all) scattered throughout our camps; there is a good prospect of weeks of uninterrupted labor, and there is an eagerness to hear the Gospel seldom witnessed in camp. Many of our chaplains are now absent, taking a needed respite from their labors, and there are now comparatively few missionaries in the camps; so that, at a time when there is special demand for ministerial labors, the supply is unusually limited. I appeal, then, to our brethren in the ministry (especially to our most useful pastors) to come at once, if only for a short time, and give us a helping hand in reaping the precious sheaves now ‘white unto the harvest.’ It will cost some trouble and sacrifice-but ought we not to be willing to endure these for the good of the noble fellows who risk their all for us? And do not delay your coming, brethren, for there is many a poor fellow whom you might reach now, who will fill a soldier's grave in the early spring campaign. Take your roll of blankets and a box of provisions (if convenient) to help the ‘mess’ with which you may stay, and come right along.

J. Wm. Jones, Army Evangelist.

I give other extracts from my letters to the Christian Index:

The weather has interfered very much with religious services of late, but when denied the more public ministrations of the word the men have often met in their company and held mess prayer-meetings, and thus the good work has gone on. If we shall have a week or two of pleasant weather before the campaign opens, there will be a glorious harvest to be reaped by the faithful laborer. I received on yesterday a note from a Baptist captain in a brigade which has been on picket and deprived of the services of a minister for two weeks or more, telling me that the [368] revival which they enjoyed before leaving their camp is still in progress, and that there are a number of candidates awaiting baptism. I expect to go down in a day or two and baptize them in sight of the Yankee pickets. I preached on yesterday to one of the largest congregations I ever addressed, and received five for baptism. The good work goes on, and I feel like calling, in every letter I write, for more men.

Harris's Mississippi Brigade has recently given an evidence of self-sacrifice, which deserves to be written in letters of gold on one of the brightest pages of the history of this war. They have resolved to deny themselves one day's rations every ten days and give it to the poor of the city of Richmond. There is nothing in the history of the war more sublime than to see these noble men, cut off from supplies from home, thus offering a portion of their scant allowance to the poor of the city they have so long defended. If the people at home would ‘go and do likewise’ the much agitated question, ‘How are the army and the poor to be fed?.’ would be speedily solved. Well may our people ‘sit at the feet of the camp’ to learn lessons of selfdenial. Our noble boys have not only given up the comforts of home, and borne cheerfully the privations and hardships of soldier-life, but they are willing to make still further sacrifices to aid the needy. Reader, think of these noble men as you gather around your wellspread board, imitate their example towards the needy in your midst and reduce your rations that you may help to increase their scant fare.

Happening in Lynchburg the other day I visited the ‘Soldiers' Library,’ established by the efficient post chaplain (Brother J. L. Johnson), and was very much pleased with its arrangement and management. It is supplied with about eight hundred volumes of religious and miscellaneous books, a large number of pamphlets, weekly issues of all the religious papers published in the South, a number of secular papers, etc. It has a claim for contributions of money and books upon the friends of the soldier in every State since State lines are not thought of in distributing its benefits.

I met also Brother A. Broadus, who is widely known in Georgia as one of the most efficient agents to be found. He was busily and successfully prosecuting his work—going from house to house to plead the claims of the soldier. I met him [369] when our army was drawn up in line of battle at ‘Mine Run,’ just in rear of our lines, and in reply to our exclamation of surprise at seeing him there, he said that he was ‘collecting money for army colportage.’ A bad ‘time and place,’ most persons would have thought, but he was succeeding very well.

Our Virginia board has recently appointed Rev. E. J. WillisGeneral Evangelist in Ewell's Corps.’ It would have been hard to find a better man for the place. Brother Willis's life has been a checkered but useful one. Graduating in his literary course at a Northern college, and in law at the University of Virginia, he practised his profession for awhile in his native State, and then emigrated to California about the beginning of the ‘gold fever.’ He was successful in his profession, and soon elevated to the position of judge, with a prospect of still higher honors; but seeing the great need of preachers in that rising State he left the bench for the pulpit, and was widely useful in proclaiming the glad tidings. Returning to Virginia he was pastor of ‘Leigh Street Baptist Church,’ Richmond, and at the beginning of the war was building up a new interest at ‘Clay Street Chapel.’ He raised a company ‘for the war’ and has distinguished himself on many a bloody field, especially at Sharpsburg, where in command of his regiment (Forty-fifth Virginia Infantry) he bore its colors in the front, and when the flagstaff was shot away, wrapped them around his sword and still led the charge. I predict for him equal success in the new field upon which he is just entering.

‘All quiet along the lines.’ There is an increase of religious interest, but I defer particulars until after our chaplains meeting to-morrow.

J. W. J. camp near Orange Court House, Va., March 20, 1864.

March 24, 1864.
Rev. J. D. Chambers, missionary of the Virginia Baptist Sunday-School and Publication Board, reports a very extensive and powerful revival in progress in Bryant's Georgia Brigade, under the labors of Chaplains C. H. Toy, W. L. Curry and J. C. Camp (all three Baptists), and the brigade missionary, Rev. Mr. Haygood (a Methodist minister). There is a fine state of religious feeling throughout that army, but a great lack of chaplains; and both officers and men are very anxious to fill the vacancies. [370] The supply of religious literature—books, tracts and papers—by no means equals the demand.

Rev. Andrew B. Cross, in an account of a visit to Fort Delaware, states that, while our prisoners were eating dinner, he proposed to preach for them. ‘They readily assented, and circulated the notice among their companions. I went out and selected a spot in the barrack yard, which was protected from the wind and where the sun shone very warm. Here were gathered in a few minutes almost one thousand men, who stood listening attentively for over half an hour that I talked to them, and then seemed unwilling to depart, begging me to come and preach to them again, or send some one else.’

Messrs. Editors: You reminded me when I saw you of “an old and unfulfilled promise.” I will now pay you one instalment. Shortly before we started on the Peninsular campaign, a soldier of my regiment called on me, telling me that J——wanted to see me. J——, a youth of perhaps seventeen years, was one of the most profane persons I ever heard speak. I walked with the messenger a few hundred yards from camp, where we found J——sitting alone. “Oh, sir,” said he, “I am a lost sinner!” I told him yes, but the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost. After some conversation, in which he expressed a very deep sense of his sinfulness, I asked him: “Did you expect me to come when you sent for me?” “Yes.” “And why? I had never promised to do anything for you.” “Because you always do anything for us you can.” “ If, then, you could trust me to come to you without any promise, can you not trust Christ with a promise? Kneel right here, and right now accept the invitation to come, and humbly, yet confidently, ask—nay, claim— the fulfilment of his promise, ‘I will give you rest.’” We knelt together, and he prayed aloud one of the most earnest, childlike prayers I ever heard. When we rose, I saw by the clear light of the moon a most remarkable change in the expression of his face. The anxious sadness had given way to the most joyful expression. “Well, sir,” said I, “how now? Has Jesus repudiated His promise or kept it?” “He has kept it; He has given me rest,” was the reply. Further conversation thoroughly satisfied me that Jesus had indeed fulfilled His promise. I more than once called on him to lead in prayer. His prayers were characterized by a childlike simplicity and confidence rarely to [371] be found. On the march he told some of his friends that he was certain to be killed in the first battle. He was killed dead on the field on the first of July at Gettysburg. Thus fell as brave a soldier as has been sacrificed in his country's cause, and “a babe in Christ” was taken away from evil to come.

The Southern Christian Advocate judges, from intelligence from the Southern armies, that ‘the great revival,’ commenced last year, still continues.

Revivals are reported in General B. R. Johnson's Brigade (a part of Longstreet's army), near Dandridge, Tennessee, in the camp church at Galveston, Texas, and in the Twenty-third Georgia Regiment, Colquitt's Brigade, near Charleston, South Carolina.

‘Of the 111 professors of religion in the Fifty-fifth North Carolina Regiment, Davis's Brigade, 3 are Lutherans, 4 Presbyterians, 8 unconnected with any Church, 32 Methodists, 64 Baptists.’

camp of Gordon's Georgia Brigade, March 21.
The Lord is with us. For about two weeks past we have been rejoicing in His presence and His blessing. There is a deep religious interest pervading this whole brigade. Scores are nightly inquiring the way of life, and a goodly number profess to have found it. It was my happy privilege on yesterday, in the presence of a large congregation, “to bury” sixteen “by baptism.” Oh, may this interest not subside while the war lasts—nay, may it continue even when it shall have closed; and may these Christloving soldiers go home to be as holy firebrands in our Churches!

A. B. Woodfin, Chaplain Sixty-first Georgia.

‘An entire congregation in Scales's (North Carolina) Brigade promptly knelt, a short while since, on an invitation for all Christians, and all who desired the special prayers of God's people to kneel.’

Bath Court House, Virginia, March 10.
The chaplains of this (Colonel Jackson's) brigade have recently closed a very interesting meeting of nineteen days. There were twenty-five or thirty conversions. I baptized nine, and five others are received for baptism. Seven united with the Southern [372] Methodists. Many penitents are inquiring the way of salvation. We hope the good work thus commenced will continue. We had the assistance of several ministers at different times during the meeting.

J. D. Leachman, Chaplain Twentieth Virginia Regiment Cavalry.

Captain A. W. Poindexter, Twenty-sixth Virginia Regiment, Wise's Brigade: Enclosed you will please find $101 contributed by my company (K, Twenty-sixth Virginia Infantry) for army colportage. May God bless it to the good of our soldiers! The religious feeling in our regiment is very deep. Prayer-meetings are held in every company every night, and we have reason to believe that they have done much good, and to hope that they will continue to do much. Many who, a year ago, were groping their way in darkness, are now the humble followers of the “Lamb of God.” The change in the morals of the men has been frequently remarked upon by some of the officers to me. Our chaplain, Rev. William E. Wiatt, is untiring in his efforts among us, and is constantly working for the spiritual welfare of the men. He is greatly beloved by all, and may his labors among us be blessed more abundantly, and all of us be made to rejoice by seeing all of our regiment converted to God! Pray for us, my dear brother.’

‘There is quite an interesting meeting in progress in the South Carolina hospital. It commenced some five weeks since. The chaplain is assisted by Rev. Dr. Pryor, who was providentially detained here from his field of labor in the army. His services were very acceptable, and I trust greatly blessed.’

I trust the Lord has commenced a gracious revival in Johnson's Brigade, now stationed at this place. Notwithstanding the weather has been very unfavorable, the work still progresses. I preached to large and attentive congregations during the past week. As many as twenty-five at one time came forward for prayer. Some have professed faith in Christ. We worship in the Baptist meeting-house.


chaplains' Association, A. N. Va., Orange Court House. March 23.
. . . In Davis's Brigade, of Heth's Division, seventy-one have professed conversion in the past six weeks. Although the brigade is now on picket, where, owing to scarcity of timber, there is no chapel, yet seats for outdoor preaching are arranged, and the religious interest is unabated. During the week are held many prayer-meetings, brigade, regimental, company and private; and prayer-meetings to prepare for prayer-meetings. Jesus is walking in His garden, and the myrrh, and aloes, and sweet spices breathe forth their richest fragrance. In Mahone's Brigade, of Anderson's Division, since our last meeting twenty have united with various Churches, and a number have professed satisfaction as to the pardon of their sins. Out of 428 professors in three regiments in this brigade, 140 professed conversion since the war begun. During a series of meetings for several weeks in Scales's Brigade, eighteen have been received into the Church; thirty had entrusted their souls to Jesus for salvation. The work of grace was still going on. There were 600 professors out of 2,400 men in four regiments. Alas! 800 men were destitute of the Scriptures. Many Bible-classes are held, and personal instruction given by the chaplain to the teachers. In the Twenty-second North Carolina Infantry, in this brigade, there is an alarming deficiency of God's word. But here God is working, and blessing means used to win souls to Christ. Kirkland's, McGowan's and Stonewall Brigades all report an encouraging state of religion in their midst. In all, some are joining the army of the living God, and some are fleeing from the wrath to come towards the shelter of the Cross. This is also true of portions of the artillery of both corps. A protracted meeting of unabated interest was reported from Gordon's Brigade, in Early's Division. Thirty were praising God's free grace that snatched them from the jaws of death, and made them cling to and rejoice in the Cross, and large numbers were pressing forward and asking to see Jesus. How good is God! How blessed are such reports from men soon to march with martial tread to deal and receive fatal shot on the bloody field! How cheering is the thought that our liberties are defended by such soldiers!

After devotional exercises we adjourned, to meet at the same place in two weeks at 11 o'clock, A. M.

L. C. Vass, Permanent Clerk.


camp, Third Virginia Infantry, Greenville, North Carolina, April 7.
. . . ‘Already eighteen souls have been happily converted and brought to realize the inestimable value of a Saviour's love. And still the good work continues. Many are inquiring “What must we do to be saved?” And we believe it will increase and extend its influence until many more are convinced of their lost and ruined condition and persuaded to fly for safety to Him who alone can save. Sinners have been convicted in their tents and compelled, as it were, to attend our meetings. Even the vilest sinners—some of whom almost denied the existence of a God, and who never blanched in the presence of the foe-have been made to tremble under the sense of guilt, and here, in the forest, are being converted to God under our feeble but assiduous efforts.’ . . .

camp of Gordon's Georgia Brigade, April 23.
Under date of March 21, I wrote you that we were enjoying a season of revival from the presence of the Lord. I write again, to say that since that time the gracious work has been steadily progressing among us. Our nightly meetings are still kept up, with most encouraging results. Almost every day witnesses the joyful conversion of some precious souls, and many are still anxiously asking, “What must I do to be saved?” Since our meeting commenced we have baptized fifty, and on tomorrow we expect to baptize about ten others. About one hundred of the brigade have professed faith in Christ. We would render all the praise unto Him to whom belongeth salvation.

A. B. Woodfin, Chaplain Sixty-First Georgia Regiment.

Orange Court House, Tuesday, April 19.
. . . In the past month God has been very gracious to our soldiers. He is pouring out in glorious copiousness His Holy Spirit upon them. It is not deemed prudent, at this time, to state with minuteness, the character and extent of this work of grace in different brigades, by name. Let it suffice to be known that in more than one-half of our brigades a mighty moral new organization is going on. Multitudes flock to the ministrations of the sanctuary; large numbers are declaring that sin is to them a burden, both heavy and hateful, and are crying out in [375] the depth of their sorrow and shame, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” Many are rejoicing in hope. Considerably over three hundred have professed conversion since we last assembled together. Neither men nor officers seem ashamed to stop their chaplain and tell him they want to talk about their soul's salvation. They are easily approached by the chaplain, and seem thankful for a tender word. One chaplain reported that in his brigade, the Christian officers would rise and publicly invite members of their commands to come and talk with them about their spiritual interests. In another brigade, a captain said to his company while they were on drill, “I have led you in battle, and in paths of sin. Now I have given my heart to Christ, and I want to lead you, brave men, to this same Saviour. Who is willing to follow me?” Every man said he would try! The good work is progressing in our artillery. Such is the power of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be unto God! After hearing such glad tidings, the meeting, led by the chairman, returned hearty thanks unto God for His signal mercy unto us. An interesting conversation arose as to the Church's prospect of a supply from the army for her ministry. More than twenty men, from the rank of colonel to that of private, were known to chaplains—then present—to have the ministry in view, and some were steadily prosecuting their studies. One man, who, twelve months ago, had no prospect of being of any value in the world, had been rescued from his death in sin through God's grace, had learned to read, and was working with much aptness for his Master's cause. Some of these persons possess very high abilities. The attention of all the chaplains was directed to the importance of seeking out among professors of religion, suitable men for the great work of preaching the Gospel.

L. C. Vass, Permanent Clerk.

Brother J. A. Gresham, Wise's Brigade: ‘Our good meetings are still going on, with increased interest. Since their commencement, some eight or nine have professed religion—among them our captain; and others are asking the prayers of God's people. We have had no minister to aid us, except our chaplain. He has preached for us several times. He can't be with us often, on account of the scattered condition of our regiment. We have a large barn to hold our meetings in. We have three [376] Bible-classes, which meet every Sunday. After the school is over, we have prayer-meeting, and then again at night. We have also formed a Christian Association, which meets every Wednesday evening, at 7 o'clock. I cannot inform you of the condition of the regiment, on account of its being so scattered. There are no two companies together.’

Extracts from my letters to the Christian Index:

On Friday last, I preached for Davis's Mississippi Brigade, now on picket at ‘Peyton's Ford,’ and in the afternoon led down into the ‘liquid grave’ twelve young men who had given me the most satisfactory evidence of ‘repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.’ The large congregation which lined the banks of the ‘Rapidan’ was greatly moved, and I trust that the ordinance was blessed to the good of souls. The stream was very rapid (owing to the recent rains) and the whole scene vividly reminded me of those occasions upon which the great ‘forerunner’ baptized soldiers in the rapid stream of Jordan. I was told by an old citizen, that about fifty years ago Mrs. General Madison (sister-in-law to the President) was bap tized in the same place in the presence of a large crowd, of which the President was one. What would have been the feelings of the great expounder of the Constitution if he could have looked into the future and seen that at the same place, in fifty years, the ordinance of baptism would be administered to Southern soldiers in sight of the hostile lines of their ‘Northern brethren?’

The good work which I reported in this brigade some time ago still goes graciously on, though they have been temporarily deprived of their chapel and the services of their efficient chaplain. The private Christians are working and praying, and the Lord is abundantly blessing their efforts. And all through the army there are revivals—the chaplains and missionaries (alas! there are now but few of the latter) seem to appreciate the importance of getting as large a number as possible to accept the glad tidings ere the opening of the campaign. It adds materially to the solemn responsibilities of our preaching to remember, that in every congregation we probably address those who will fall in the impending battle. Everything portends an early move, if the protracted rains shall cease. Exactly what the move will be, I, of course, have no means of knowing, and would not say if I did. But this much I may say—recent preparations [377] do not indicate on the part of ‘Marse Robert’ any design of accommodating the Northern press by ‘evacuating Virginia.’ General Lee issued an order the other day, intimating that all lady visitors in the neighborhood of camp had best go to the rear as soon as practicable, and in accordance with the order every train is loaded with the wives of officers and soldiers who have been spending happy days with their loved ones. I have witnessed at the cars several parting scenes which touched me deeply. At the signal for the cars to start, manly frames choke with emotion, and helpless womanhood weeps bitter tears, at what may prove a final parting. Mrs. General—— veils her face that she may conceal from rude gazes the bitter anguish of a parting which may know no meeting again—while on the next seat the wife of some rough private sobs aloud as she parts from her all who may leave her and her little ones to the cold charities of the world.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the secession of Virginia and the first moving of the Virginia troops to the capture of Harper's Ferry, Norfolk, etc. Three years of carnage have passed by, many hearthstones of the ‘Old Dominion’ have been polluted, her fields have been laid waste, blackened ruins mark where some of her proudest mansions stood, her sons have been slain, and her people draped in mourning; but thus far she has borne herself proudly amidst the battle-storm, and she now enters upon the fourth year of the war with the same stern resolve as when her ‘Sic semper tyrannis’ first rung out defiance to the foe. What shall be the end of this year? Shall it terminate, or serve to indefinitely protract, the war? For myself, I have but one fear. I do not doubt the valor or the patient endurance of the army or the people at home. I only fear that we may ‘trust in an arm of flesh’—may look to Lee and Johnston instead of to the ‘Lord of hosts.’

Our chaplains' meeting on last Tuesday was of more than usual interest, since the report elicited showed a very general revival throughout the army. Extensive revivals were reported in Kirkland's, Davis's, Cooke's, Harris's, Wright's, Perrin's, Scales's, Lane's, Stonewall, J. M. Jones's, Steuart's, Gordon's, Battle's and Daniels's Brigades and portions of the Artillery of both Corps, while in all of the brigades there was a very hopeful state of things. The Lord is evidently with us in these [378] camps, and if we remain here for some days longer, there is every prospect of an even more glorious work than we had last summer and fall. A brother told of a captain in a Georgia regiment who had been a very wicked man, but who, on making a profession of religion, recently, called his company together and told them that they had followed him into many hard-fought battles—that he had also led them into sin, and that he now called upon them to follow him into the service in which he had just enlisted. A large proportion of that company have since professed conversion, and are following their brave captain as he follows Christ.

Another brother mentioned a fact, confirmed by others, that the gambling and profanity in his brigade was almost entirely confined to the new recruits fresh from home. This is but one of the many proofs that might be given to show that the usual demoralization incident to camp life is very greatly counteracted in our noble army.

And one of the most interesting facts elicited was, that in almost every brigade there are young brethren (many of them among the young converts) who have decided that, if the Lord spares them to the end of the war, they will devote themselves to the work of the Gospel ministry. Many of these are highly educated, and, before the war, were preparing themselves for, or actively engaged in, some secular calling. These young men should be remembered in the prayers of God's people all over the land, that the Lord would shield them in the hour of danger and prepare them by His Spirit for the glorious work of preaching the ‘glad tidings’ of salvation—and earnest prayer should be made to the ‘Lord of the harvest’ that He would raise up yet many more who, coming from this school of self-denial and privation, shall form a ministry more worthy than we to follow in the footsteps of the ‘people's preacher.’

I had the privilege of baptizing eleven candidates again on yesterday—making sixty-seven that I have baptized within the past month. Rev. Dr. Burrows is again laboring in our camp, Rev. A. Broaddus, Sr., arrived on yesterday, and I learn that Rev. Dr. Jeter (who has recently spent several weeks of very successful labor in the artillery), and Rev. H. W. Dodge (pastor of our Church in Lynchburg, and one of the brightest ornaments of the Virginia Baptist pulpit), will be on in a few days to remain some time with us. [379]

Can't you send us some of your best Georgia Baptist preachers? Brethren may think that I always ‘harp on one string,’ but I mean to harp on it until they remove the cause by coming up to our help in this great work.

We are having beautiful weather now, and the indications of an early move grow stronger daily. I saw a large number of ambulances this morning at the Medical Purveyor's office, loading with ‘stretchers,’ bandages, etc., to distribute amongst the brigades. Alas! that we should have need for so many of these!

From the date of the above letter to the opening of the campaign I was engaged in preaching every day in various commands, and witnessed many manifestations of God's presence and power. I met afterwards, in our field hospitals, several wounded men who told me that they had found Jesus in connection with my preaching just before the opening of the campaign, and some of the other chaplains told me of others who said the same, and some of the most triumphant deaths of which I heard were of those who found ‘Christ in the camp’ along the Rapidan.

I was on a visit to my old seminary friends, Revs. Crawford H. Toy and W. L. Curry—having promised to aid them in a series of meetings—in their camp near Gordonsville, and I was just beginning a sermon to a large crowd of gallant Georgians when ‘the long roll’ beat, the veterans fell in, and Longstreet's Corps was on the march for the battle of the Wilderness.

Omitting such letters as describe the battles and comment on army movements, I append several other extracts from my letters to the Christian Index.

In my previous letters I have not said as much as I desired with reference to our hospital work. Of course, the frequent witnessing of such scenes has a tendency to blunt one's sensibilities, and yet it would be indeed a heart of steel that could remain untouched at the succession of woes constantly presented at our field hospitals. I have seen the old gray-haired sire anxiously pace to and fro as ambulance after ambulance brings in its mangled freight, and at last, perchance, his noble boy is [380] borne in, or he learns that he has fallen on the gory field. I saw wounded the other day the last son of five noble boys, which a widowed mother had sent to the defence of the country. And then the groans of the poor fellows, as they bleed and die on the hard ground, with no mother, sister, or other loved one near to soothe their dying moments. But I turn from this part of the sad picture. I am glad to be able to say, that the arrangements for the comfort of our wounded are now much more complete than they have hitherto been. There are a larger number of ambulances, and a much better supply of hospital stores of every kind. And I bear willing testimony to the zeal and efficiency of most of our surgeons.

The ‘Richmond Ambulance Committee’ has been near the army for over three weeks, rendering invaluable assistance to the wounded of every State. They are thoroughly organized, and a set of real working men who do not mind taking off their coats and pitching right into anything which can promote the comfort of our poor wounded fellows. Rev. Dr. Burrows is one of the most efficient members of the organization, and may be seen any day, with coat off and sleeves rolled up, carrying a bucket of soup or lifting a wounded man.

The results of the glorious revivals with which our army has been visited, have been manifested in the very large proportion of the wounded who express a calm confidence in Christ which renders them happy in their affliction. I have talked with poor fellows, dreadfully mangled and about to die, who were as composed and happy as if about to fall asleep under the parental roof. I met a noble young Georgia officer who, too badly wounded to talk, yet wrote me on a slip of paper, in answer to my inquiries: ‘My whole trust is in Christ, and I feel perfectly resigned to God's will. I am deeply grateful that it is no worse with me.’ Another noble boy, while breathing out his life, repeated over and over again, with childlike simplicity, ‘Jesus says, “him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out,” and I have gone to Him, and know that He will be true to His word.’ But, alas! there are others who die as they have lived, ‘without God and without hope’—some of them in great agony of mind, but others with stoical indifference. But I must close, and follow our brave boys to other scenes of carnage and, I trust, to glorious victory.

I learned of another incident, strikingly illustrating the military [381] power of religion. In a brigade of five regiments, where there has recently been a glorious revival, two of the regiments, which had not shared in the revival, broke, while the three which had been thus blessed stood firm, and changed a threatened disaster into a victory, which elicited the commendation of the higher officers, and will secure the promotion of the colonel commanding.

Despite unfavorable surroundings the men do not neglect their little prayer-meetings, and thus the good work goes on. On a large part of the line, however, we have regular preaching, and a good deal of interest is manifested in the services. In Bryan's and Wofford's Georgia, Kershaw's South Carolina, and several other brigades, there are revivals of deep interest. Indeed, we might look for a very general revival throughout the army if the position of all the troops would admit of regular labor amongst them, and we had laborers to enter the glorious harvest.

The past few weeks have been very unfavorable for religious services, as the weather has been too cold for outdoor exercises, and but few chapels have been completed, owing to scarcity of timber and transportation. I refer in this remark to the lines south of the Appomattox. Between the Appomattox and the James, and north of the James too (I believe), every brigade have one or more chapels, and there have been very decided manifestations of the revival spirit. In some of the brigades they are enjoying precious seasons of revival. A number of chapels have been completed on our part of the lines, others are in process of erection, and we are hoping for a like visitation of God's Spirit. Indeed, we have not been without manifestations of His goodness, but every week there have been a few to find peace in believing—the first droppings, we trust, of the copious shower in store for us. The prayer-meetings, Bible-classes, schools, etc., of last winter have been revived, and bid fair to be as interesting and profitable as then. Alas! it is sad to miss so many of those who last winter were the leaders in these enterprises; but it is sweet to think of them as now engaged in more blest employ, away from the sufferings of earth, and free from ‘war's rude alarms.’ We shall need now larger supplies of religious reading matter, and it is hoped that the good brethren of Georgia will offer freely of what Sherman has not taken, [382] to send the Index to our brave soldiers. Our Virginia Baptist Colportage Board, now that our Southern communications are so liable to interruption, and the railroads are impressed by the Government, will have to supply a larger proportion than ever of the religious reading and the preachers of this army; and as the funds of the board are running low it is to be hoped that our Georgia brethren will give liberally, of their means to help it send the Gospel to their sons and brothers in this army. I am sure that Brother Boykin (while Brother Wharton is in Virginia) will gladly receive and forward any contributions that may be sent him for this object. Brethren, whose homes have not been molested by the enemy, should send large thank offerings, and those who have lost, or are liable to lose by the enemy, should imitate the example of a good brother, who, after the enemy had robbed him of nearly everything he had, sent Brother Dickinson one hundred dollars for the soldiers, with the request that he would at least make a safe investment of that.

The religious interest in the army has been on the increase for the past few weeks, and many of the brigades are enjoying revivals. I had the pleasure of baptizing, the other day, in a pond between our line of battle and our picket line, and in full view of the enemy. The ceremony was solemn and impressive, and I trust that it was blessed to the good of the congregation.

The Rev. Dr. Armstrong, who was so long a victim of ‘Beast’ Butler's cruelty in Norfolk, has come to this army as Presbyterian minister to A. P. Hill's Corps. He has been regarded as one of the ablest men in the denomination, and will yet find in the army an ample field for his talents.

There have been certain changes in our lines within the past week which have lessened the opportunites for preaching (or rather the number of regiments that may be assembled for preaching), and the details for picket duty, work on our fortifications, mining, etc., are very heavy; but the prayer-meetings are regularly kept up in most of the regiments, and in those brigades where it is practicable to have preaching the chaplains are working faithfully.

I say chaplains, for I know of but two missionaries now present in this whole army. Those good brethren who resolved at the Georgia Baptist Convention that governmental chaplaincies [383] were wrong, and they would do the work of army evangelization as voluntary missionaries, must all have gone to General Hood's army. I have seen none of them here, though I constantly hear as I go amongst Georgia troops, ‘you are the only Baptist preacher I have seen in a long time.’

There are very interesting revivals in Bryan's, Wofford's Thomas's, and Wright's Georgia Brigades, as also in several brigades from other States. I wish that some of the good Baptist brethren of Georgia, who are preaching two or three times per month to small congregations, could witness such a scene as I witnessed at Wright's Georgia Brigade last night. Assembled on the ramparts and on the outside of the trenches, was an immense congregation whose upturned faces showed in the moonbeams, listening eagerly to the truth as the preacher urged an immediate attention to the claims of the Gospel, and when he ceased, and the usual invitation was given, an old familiar hymn rose clear and strong from the great heart of the congregation, and about one hundred young men came forward for prayer, as calmly, but as determinedly as if they were marching to meet their country's foe. And then there rose the voice of prayer in which the whole congregation seemed to join in heart. Some words of counsel were spoken, a parting hymn sung, and the congregation dismissed, only to crowd around the preacher, who had papers, tracts and Testaments to distribute, with as much eagerness to get the little treasures as if they were diamonds, rubies, or gold. This is a scene of nightly occurrence. And yet this brigade, from the heart of Georgia, and so largely Baptistic in sentiment, that a large mass of its converts (I learn) desire to connect themselves with Baptist Churches, has never had a Baptist chaplain or permanent missionary. Is there no earnest, working brother among the large Baptist ministry of Georgia who is willing to come and labor among these brave men? The chaplains connected with the brigade are faithful men, but they themselves join in the general wish that there should also be a Baptist laborer among them.

Brother Curry, of Bryan's Brigade, and Brother Hyman, of Thomas's Brigade, have baptized a number recently, and I expect to baptize a number in Wright's Brigade in a few days.

A large part of our army is so situated now that religious services are entirely practicable, and the brethren are improving the [384] opportunity. In riding along the trenches about sundown, one sees, almost every hundred yards, a company of worshippers, met either to hear a sermon or to engage in the prayer-meeting.

While preaching the other evening, I heard from where I stood the voice of three other ministers, and the songs of several prayermeetings. But then in other parts of the line there is an eager desire to have preaching, but no preacher to meet the demand. A number of the brigades are enjoying interesting revivals. Brother Hyman, of the Forty-ninth Georgia, has recently baptized thirty in Thomas's Brigade. I have baptized eight in Wright's Brigade, and other brethren have baptized a number. A number of others have connected themselves with other denominations. The cry is still for more earnest, permanent preachers— men who can and will stick to their posts in cloud as well as sunshine.

The religious interest in the army is on the increase, and only an opportunity for regular and uninterrupted services and more faithful laborers are wanted, that the glorious scenes witnessed on the Rapidan may be re-enacted here. Even amid the adverse circumstances which surround us, the revival spirit is kept alive and many souls are being ‘born again’ in the trenches. It is of nightly occurrence to see a large crowd assembled in the trenches for preaching, and I have not within the past two months seen an invitation for inquirers to come forward for prayer, that there were not at least a few and often large numbers to avail themselves of it. I witnessed, last Sunday afternoon, a beautiful baptismal scene. Assembled on the bank of a little pond just in the rear of the trenches was a large crowd of bronzed veterans from Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The great heart of the congregation united in singing, ‘People of the living God;’ some passages of Scripture bearing on the ordinance were read, and prayer offered for the presence and blessing of the Master, and then, as ‘Am I a soldier of the Cross?’ was sung ‘with the spirit and understanding,’ Brother W. B. Carson, chaplain of the Fourteenth South Carolina, led the willing converts ‘down into the water’ and ‘buried’ them with Christ in baptism. Brother J. J. D. Renfroe, of the Tenth Alabama Regiment, has baptized a number recently in his own brigade and in Law's. Other brethren are frequently doing the same, and numbers of young converts [385] are uniting with other denominations. I have not heard from Thomas's or Wright's Georgia Brigade recently, but presume that the good work still goes on in these brigades.

Rev. J. C. Granberry, Methodist missionary to Hill's Corps (and, by the way, one of the ablest preachers and most efficient workers I know), has, within the past two Sabbaths, preached on army missions and taken up collections at Washington street and Market street Methodist Churches, Petersburg. At the former he secured five thousand and at the latter seven thousand dollars—a liberal contribution, when we remember the circumstances which surround these churches; and some of our more highly-favored brethren who ‘eat the bread of quietness,’ would do well to imitate this noble example in sending the Gospel to our brave soldiers. Our Virginia Baptist Colportage Board is in need of funds to carry on its work, and, as it has never regarded State lines in the prosecution of its work in the army, but has sent its colporters and missionaries and distributed its publications amongst the troops of all States alike, it has claims upon the brethren of Georgia which have not been and will not be disregarded.

The people of Petersburg are bearing themselves nobly in this crisis in their history; there is nothing like a panic, but the men have shouldered their muskets determined to defend their homes to the last, and the women (God bless them) are devoting themselves nobly to the relief of our sick and wounded. I was at a hospital the other day from which the wounded were being removed because of the shelling, and saw a number of ladies bearing delicacies to our poor fellows and ministering with the utmost tenderness to their wants, regardless of the missiles of death which the foe was hurling at them. On yesterday (Saturday) most of the churches were opened, and Yankee shells mingled their discordant notes with the songs of praise. Save this continued shelling all was quiet along the lines on yesterday, and it was my privilege to spend the day in the trenches ‘breaking the bread of life’ to our brave boys who crowded to hear the Gospel, and receive the large number of Indexes which I fortunately had for distribution. As I passed through the hospital the other day a gallant Georgia offices recognized the Index in my hand, called to me for one, and seemed as glad to get it as if he had just met a friend from home.

J. W. J.


The following is an extract from a letter of an officer of the Eighteenth Virginia Cavalry, Imboden's Brigade. It refers to the fight of General Imboden, before the main battle near New Market: ‘Before the charge, and while we were in line, the command to dismount was given, when our noble chaplain sang a hymn and then prayed, the whole regiment kneeling. It was a solemn and impressive sight just on the eve of battle, and God blessed our arms with victory. The chaplain prayed that if it should please God we might scatter our enemies, but oh! preserve the lives of those dear ones, and prolong them for Thy glory. Truly did God answer the prayer of the devout old man—they were scattered to the four winds, and we lost not a man.’

A writer from the Army of Northern Virginia, when the present campaign had been in progress twenty-one days, said: ‘Frequent prayer-meetings have been held in the trenches; and even on the advance skirmish line, within easy musket range of the enemy, the song of praise and the voice of supplication have been heard. Sermons have also been preached in the trenches— albeit, they have sometimes been cut short by the bursting of the shell or the whistling of the minnie.’

Rev. Dr. Burrows baptized twenty-two soldiers at Chaffin's Bluff, a week or two since.’

Richmond, Virginia, Jan. 1, 1865.
We are receiving some very refreshing accounts of the work of grace in the army from our missionaries:

Rev. P. H. Fontaine reports the baptism of fifty soldiers.

Rev. Harvey Hatcher has held several very interesting meetings, in which some seventy souls professed faith in Christ. Brother Hatcher is employed by the board to visit destitute regiments and battalions. He is eminently adapted to army work.

Brother R. W. Cridlin, of the Thirty-eighth Virginia, has been greatly blessed. A large proportion of his regiment have made a profession of faith in Christ since Brother Cridlin has been connected with it.

Rev. A. Broaddus has recently spent two weeks in protracted meetings in Charlottesville, in which forty persons professed conversion. Rev. J. Wm. Jones has baptized within twelve months two hundred and twenty-two soldiers. [387]

Rev. T. Hume, of Petersburg, writes as follows: I have baptized here, and in adjacent parts, during the past six months, fifty-four—mostly young men of great promise. Some now are awaiting baptism, and not a few scattered about in the trenches and hospitals are earnest seekers after salvation.

A. E. D.

camp near Petersburg, January 2.
. . . The very active campaign in which the ‘Army of the Valley’ has been engaged has been very unfavorable to religious services, and, I regret to add, a number of chaplains have resigned; but, as we were blessed with fine weather during my stay, I found every day large and attentive congregations, and witnessed some indications that the revival spirit had not died out, but only wanted favorable influences to fan the spark into a flame. The Second Corps has now gone into winter-quarters (no matter where), and, under the encouragement of their Christian commander (General John B. Gordon), chapels are being built in most of the camps, and it is to be hoped that a very decided religious influence will prevail this winter. But they greatly need more preachers. I was indebted for transportation, from Staunton to the army and back, to Brother C. F. Fry, one of the most efficient colporters of our Virginia Baptist Board. Brother Fry has a little covered wagon admirably arranged for carrying his tracts, books, rations, forage, etc., in which he kindly took me. For several days in Staunton I enjoyed the hospitality of Brother Geo. B. Taylor. Besides the duties of his pastorate, Brother Taylor is doing a great work in the Staunton hospitals.


Applewood, December 31, 1864.
To-day closes the eventful year 1864! Reflections crowd the memory almost to stupefaction. Faith and patience have their amplest verge, piety and patriotism their widest scope, in our present condition. Not unlike the Israelites, we are passing through “darkness drear” to better and brighter prospects beyond. Among the memories of the past my mind rests upon the close of 1863. Then in prison on Johnston's Island we thought it not unfitting to spend the day in religious observances. The 103d Psalm was read and briefly commented on. Officers, [388] not preachers, spoke gratefully of the mercy of God to them in blessing their imprisonment. Fifteen had professed faith in Christ. Twenty others gave the hand in pledge of a new life. It was a holy, blessed day to the souls of many, though the body was shut up in close imprisonment. We could all thank God for the freedom of the soul, and for soul religion. Among the converts was Lieutenant Wm. J. Read, of Tennessee, son of Dr. Read, missionary of the Baptist Central Foreign Missions to Siam. From this time the work spread till there was a great revival among the officers imprisoned there. There were many religious men among the officers. There were 13 preachers among them—6 Baptist, 6 Methodist and I Episcopalian. There were 102 Baptists, 95 Methodists, 45 Presbyterians, 37 Episcopalians, a few Catholics, Lutherans, Jews, and others who had a religion of some sort, among the prisoners, and over 100 professed during the winter, spring and summer. Thus God sanctifies sufferings and overrules the wrath of man. There is a pleasant state of religious feeling in the Twenty-fourth Regiment, Virginia Cavalry. We have occasional preaching and frequent prayer-meetings among the young men. They conduct them almost exclusively. We have several who exercise a public gift in speaking. When our chapel is completed we hope to have a protracted meeting. We have seen a good deal of hard service this summer; and since the 7th of October my squadron has been engaged in five severe battles and three or four skirmishes. I got four men slightly wounded, but not one killed. The regiment, in the same engagement, got four killed and six wounded. Considering how hard the fighting has been, the imminent perils through which we have passed, the many narrow escapes we have had, I most freely and gladly acknowledge the good hand of the Lord was with us. In the future it is easy to foresee the path of peril and blood before us. My speech to my men, in the presence of the enemy, is, “There are the Yankees, boys–our cause is just-trust in God, and charge them.” This has been my motto, and I expect it to be so long as I find the Yankees the avowed enemies of my country's freedom.

A correspondent of the Biblical Recorder mentions a Confederate captain, who in his company, composed of volunteers and [389] conscripts from different section of the country, has had no man charged with stealing and no deserter since the war began— a fact due to his instruction that ‘pressing’ is stealing, and ‘running blockade’ equivalent to desertion; while, because of his discountenance of the vices of gambling, drunkenness and profanity, not one plays cards or ever gets intoxicated, and only two swear and they very seldom. When not on duty they spend their time in prayer-meetings, in singing and innocent amusements; and a large majority have become church-members.

camp near Petersburg, February 5, 1865.
God has bestowed on my regiment a rich blessing. Sixteen converts have been added to the different religious denominations, several backsliders have been reclaimed, and many are still inquiring with mournful hearts the way to heaven. The prospect is good and the people of God are in the harness laboring for the salvation of souls. Our meeting is still in progress. Pray for us.

E. B. Barrett, Chaplain Forty-fifth Georgia Regiment.

How the memories of those days crowd upon me, as I sit in my quiet study twenty-three years after those stirring scenes. Those bright days before the opening of the campaign, when our camps were vocal with God's praises and hundreds of our brave boys were turning to the Lord—those days of constant battle, carnage, death, when Lee withstood Grant's overwhelming force from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor, and from Cold Harbor to Petersburg, and left hors de combat more of ‘General Grant's people’ than he himself had—those long, weary days in forty miles of entrenchments, when the ‘men in gray’ were ‘worn away by attrition,’ and ‘the thin line was stretched until it broke’—and amid it all the precious seasons of worship, the realization of the presence and blessing of Jesus, and the assurance that God's Spirit was ever present in His convicting, converting, sanctifying power. I try to forget the ‘bitter memories of a stormy past,’ but the hallowed associations that cluster around ‘Christ in the camp,’ on the march, in the bivouac, on the battle-field, in the trenches, in the hospital, in life, in death— these linger forever, ‘a sweet savor’ in my memory. God be praised for what our eyes saw, our ears heard, and our hearts felt of His presence and power during that memorable campaign of 1864-65.

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