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Chapter 15: winter of 1862-63.

The battle of Sharpsburg was followed by a series of movements which brought both armies face to face again on the soil of Virginia. The unfortunate General McClellan fell under the ban of his government, and was superseded by General Burnside. The Federal army moved slowly southward from the Potomac to the Rappahannock, while the Confederates made a corresponding march through the Valley of Virginia, crossed the Blue Ridge, and placed themselves on the south side of the last named river. We quote from the “notes” of Rev. J. W. Mills, who fully participated in all the hardships of the army:

October 29th.-Orders just received from headquarters to cook two days rations, and be in readiness to march in the morning at an early hour. All is anxiety — no one knows whither we are to move. Are we to cross the Potomac and attack the Yankees? Or are we to go southwards to some point of railroad communication with home and friends? These are questions of importance to us. I hear men saying: ‘Well, I will go anywhere I am ordered.’

In this long march many of the soldiers suffered greatly for want of shoes and clothing. “Each regiment,” says Mr. Mills, “has its barefooted squad, who are permitted to pick their way through the rocks as best they can.” The feelings of our people in the Valley, as they saw the troops move on with the head of the column filing off towards the mountains, were very sad. “As we marched through Winchester the band played ‘ Old Folks at Home.’ We saw ladies, young and [232] old, looking oh with sad faces, many of them weeping. Could we have spoken to these sorrowing ones, we would have said, ‘Be not alarmed, Stonewall Jackson is somewhere.’ ”

Friday, October 31st.-In lines and off at 7 o'clock. Many are limping with blistered feet and swollen joints. The barefooted stood the march better than those whose shoes were not a good fit. Many are carrying their shoes in their hands to-day. The Shenandoah river is to wade this morning, and we are anxious to get to it, hoping that the water will be some relief to scalded and burning feet. Some stripped their feet and legs, others plunged in with shoes and socks on. The water was almost freezing cold, and was, as we thought, a great benefit to our sore feet.

On Sunday the army reached Culpeper, and each regiment gave a shout of joy as it went into camp within hearing of the whistle of the engine bringing news from home and friends. Three months before the army had left Gordonsville to drive the enemy out of Virginia. We have fought many hard battles, suffered hunger and weariness to an incredible degree; and done all this without a change of clothing, and many without shoes or blankets.

In this campaign many thousands of our wounded soldiers were necessarily left within the Federal lines; and, while many of them suffered and died in hospitals and prisons, it is pleasing to record instances of kindness shown to such as were more fortunate by good men and good women at the North. The case of the Rev. George G. Smith, of the Georgia Conference, chaplain of Phillips' Georgia brigade, affords a pleasing episode. He received a dreadful wound in the battle of Boonsboro; the ball struck him in the neck, passed through the body, and came out near the spine, cutting some of the nerves of the brachial plexus and paralyzing the left arm. In this condition he was captured, and for [233] many weeks remained a prisoner in Maryland. With many other wounded Confederates, he had good reason to remember the kindness of sympathizing friends. Of his own case, he says:

My personal obligations to these people can never be met. Literally, ‘I was hungry, and they gave me meat; naked, and they clothed me; and sick and in prison, and they visited me.’ A good woman took me to her house in Boonsboro and nursed me as her child, and a gentleman in Baltimore sent for me when he learned my condition, and did what he could to get me to his house-furnished me with money-and when at last he got me to his home, he furnished me with all he could conceive I needed. To his good wife and himself I owe more than I can ever repay.

Mr. Smith finally recovered of his wound, but partial paralysis of his system remains, which, however, does not prevent his continuing in the ministerial work. He is now an active and useful member of the Georgia Conference of the M. E. Church, South.

In the same battle (Boonsboro) a son of Bishop James O. Andrew was severely wounded and left upon the field. The venerable Bishop records his gratitude to those who befriended his boy. He says:

The battle was fought on Sunday morning, and he lay on the field till next day; and during that night, he thinks, he must have died with cold but that two kind Federal soldiers took him to the fire, gave him some hot coffee, and covered him with a couple of overcoats and a blanket. He was moved to the hospital, but his wounds were not dressed until Wednesday. Shortly after, Mr. H. called, had him paroled, and took him to his home and treated him as if he were his own son. He speaks in glowing terms of the kindness of the people of Maryland, and especially of the great kindness shown to the Confederate prisoners by the ladies of Baltimore. I feel grateful to God for his care of my boy, especially [234] in raising him up friends in a land of strangers. May God bless them all.

A singular phase of the war, on the part of the Federals, was the summary manner in which ministers were treated who fell under suspicion of disloyalty. Many were ejected from their pulpits, hurried away to the North, and, in some instances, confined in prison like common felons. In Nashville several prominent clergymen of the different Churches were for several weeks confined in the Penitentiary. The scene described in the following extract occurred in the same city:

Rev. C. D. Elliot, though a Northern-born man, has been raised and educated in the South, and for over twenty years has been principal of the famous Nashville Female Academy. From the beginning of the war, and even of the issues that led to the war, he has been uncompromisingly Southern. No trimming in Elliot. Well, the Yankees took his Academy for a hospital. One day a stout fellow of the 35th Ohio regiment called at his door, wallet in hand. “My name is---; I came from the neighborhood of your brothers, and have messages from them to you. I feel a little unwell, anyhow, and thought I would call and stay with you.” “Sir,” said Elliot, looking waspishly through his spectacles, when a man in that uniform calls on me on business I treat him civilly, but I decline all visits from such. “ But I have messages from your brothers to you; they are my neighbors and-” “ Don't care. Don't want to hear any messages from them if they are on your side,” and the door slammed in Buckeye's face. A few days afterward this Buckeye and a Major, on horseback, passed by Elliot's premises. “Changed your sentiments yet, sir?” said the Ohio soldier. “Not at all,” was the reply; whereupon he struck Elliot (a small and feeble man) twice over the head and shoulders with a stick, and then kicked him. Turning to his Major-“ Major, have I beat him enough?” The Major, putting his hand to his pistol, replied, “ Beat [235] him just as long as you please!” “Well, I guess that'll do for this time,” was the remark of the moderate member of the 35th Ohio regiment. A regiment was passing at the time. One of the sick soldiers, to whom Elliot had been kind, on witnessing this treatment, told him if he would lay the case before Gen. Buell he would get redress. Elliot answered, “I look for my redress to the Southern army.”

In New Orleans, where General B. F. Butler exercised authority, the services of the churches were interrupted by the arrest and deportation of ministers. The following appeared in a Northern paper as an item of news:

The three disloyal Episcopal clergymen, Rev. Dr. Goodrich, Rev. Mr. Fulton, and Rev. Dr. Leacock, who have been forwarded to this city from New Orleans by Gen. Butler, staid at the Astor House until yesterday afternoon, when they were turned over to the custody of the United States Marshal, who will consign them to Fort Lafayette.

The offence of these ministers was that in the Sunday service they had omitted the prayer for the President of the United States. The following scene is a specimen of what occurred in many parts of the South under Federal rule:

As the Rev. H. R. Smith, of Leesburg, Va., came from the pulpit, after the usual Sabbath services, Capt. McCabe, one of Mr. Lincoln's officials, arrested him for disloyalty, objecting to his sermon, his prayer, and chapter read from the Bible. The sermon was written, and, on examination, they were constrained to withdraw their charge against it. “But you did not pray for the President of the United States?” Mr. Smith replied, “No, sir, I prayed, as the Bible directs, “for all in authority,” and if you consider Mr. Lincoln your President you could join in that prayer.” Well, the captain found that he must waive that item of the charge. “ But your chapter — I do not believe the words read are in the Bible.” [236] “Yes, sir, they are” --(Isaiah XLIII: 5, 6.) “But you should not have read them.” Mr. Smith said in reply: “They have no reference to political questions-and do you intend to limit the reading of God's word?” “Yes, sir!” “You will then have your hands full before you get to the Gulf of Mexico.” The captain then said: “Take the oath, sir, and you may go.” “No, sir,” Mr. Smith replied, “I will not.” “Then we will send you to Washington.” “Very well, sir.” “Appear before me tomorrow morning prepared to go.” Mr. Smith appeared; but the captain and his counsellors, it appears, had thought better of the matter.

The winter of 1862 was ushered by the repulse of the Federals at Fredericksburg, and the year was closed by the battle of Murfreesboro and the frightful slaughter at Stone river. The movement against Fredericksburg was the fourth attempt to reach Richmond. Generals McDowell, McClellan, and Pope had failed, and now Burnside was hurled back across the Rappahannock with his shattered and beaten army. The leaders and the men who successively defeated four great armies of the North were worthy of the eulogies bestowed by impartial spectators of the war. Mr. Lawley, an English gentleman, who was in the South at this time, wrote to the London Times:

It is a strange thing to look at these men, so ragged, slovenly, sleeveless, without a superfluous ounce of flesh upon their bones, with wild, matted hair, in mendicants' rags, and to think when the battle flag goes to the front how they can and do fight. “There is only one attitude in which I never should be ashamed of your seeing my men, and that is when they are fighting.” These were General Lee's words to me the first time I ever saw him. They have been confirmed by every other distinguished officer in the Confederacy. There are triumphs of daring which these poor, ragged men have attempted, and attempted successfully, in this war, which have never been [237] attempted by their Sybarite opponents. Again and again they have stormed batteries formidably defended, at the point of the bayonet; nothing of the kind has ever been attempted by the Federals.

The repulse at Fredericksburg was a staggering blow to the North. Their leading journals bewailed it as a great calamity. The New York World spoke of it as “the most terrible defeat of the war,” and placed the loss of the Federal army at more than fifteen thousand men. Meagher's brigade of Irishmen went into the fight twelve hundred strong, and but two hundred and fifty could be found next morning. The World said editorially:

Heaven help us — there seems to be no help in man. The cause is perishing. Hope after hope has vanished, and now the only prospect is the very blackness of despair. Here we are, reeling back from the third campaign upon Richmond, fifteen thousand of the Grand Army sacrificed at one sweep, and the rest escaping only by a hair's breadth.

The Louisville Journal said of this battle: “It is painful and absolutely sickening to read of the horrible slaughter of our troops at Fredericksburg. The war cannot be carried on much longer as it has been. Gen. French went into battle with seven thousand men, and two days after the battle only twelve hundred reported to him. The total loss in his brigade alone was thirteen hundred and fifty-five.”

Concerning this disastrous battle General Burnside sent to Washington city this delicate dispatch:

The army was withdrawn to this side of the river because I felt the position in front could not be carried. It was a military necessity, either to retreat or attack. A repulse would have been disastrous to us. The army was withdrawn at night without the knowledge of the enemy, and without loss either of property or men.

This victory was not gained without a vast sacrifice [238] of noble lives on the part of the Confederates. Gen. Lee was supported by some of his ablest Lieutenants, and never did they more gallantly execute the orders of their great chieftain. The following extract from Gen. Lee's official report will give the reader a correct view of the field and the disposition of our forces:

The morning of the 13th, his arrangements for attack being completed about nine o'clock, the movement veiled by a fog, he advanced boldly in large force against our right wing. Gen. Jackson's corps occupied the right of our line, which rested on the railroad; Gen. Longstreet's the left, extending along the heights to the Rappahannock, above Fredericksburg. Gen. Stuart, with two brigades of cavalry, was posted on the extensive plain on our extreme right.

As soon as the advance of the enemy was discovered through the fog, Gen. Stuart, with his accustomed promptness, moved up a section of his horse artillery, which opened with effect upon his flank, and drew upon the gallant Pelham a heavy fire, which he sustained unflinchingly for about two hours. In the meantime the enemy was fiercely encountered by Gen. A. P. Hill's division, forming Gen. Jackson's right, and, after an obstinate combat, repulsed. During this attack, which was protracted and hotly contested, two of Gen. Hill's brigades were driven back upon our second line.

Gen. Early, with part of his division, being ordered to his support, drove the enemy back from a point of woods he had seized, and pursued him into the plain until arrested by his artillery. The right of the enemy's column extending beyond Hill's front, encountered the right of Gen. Hood, of Longstreet's corps. The enemy took possession of a small copse in front of Hood, but were quickly dispossessed, and repulsed with loss.

During the attack on our right the enemy was crossing troops over his bridges at Fredericksburg, and massing them in front of Longstreet's line. Soon after [239] his repulse on our right, he commenced a series of attacks on our left, with d view of obtaining possession of the heights immediately overlooking the town. These repeated attacks were repulsed in gallant style by the Washington Artillery, under Col. Walton, and a portion of McLaw's Division, which occupied those heights.

The last assault was made after dark, when Col. Alexander's battalion had relieved the Washington Artillery (whose ammunition had been exhausted), and ended the contest for the day. The enemy was supported in his attack by the fire of strong batteries of artillery on the right bank of the river, as well as by the numerous heavy batteries on the Stafford Heights.

Our loss, during the operations, since the movements of the enemy began, amounts to about eighteen hundred killed and wounded. Among the former I regret to report the death of the patriotic soldier and statesman, Brigadier-General Thomas R. R. Cobb, who fell upon our left; and among the latter that brave soldier and accomplished gentleman, Brigadier-General Maxcy Gregg, who was very seriously, and, it is feared, mortally wounded during the attack on our right.

Among the Southern soldiers who offered up their lives in this battle there was no nobler sacrifice than Gen. Thomas R. R. Cobb, of Georgia. His ability as a lawyer and statesman, and his pure Christian character, gave him great influence in the South, and particularly in his native State. He gave up all the bright prospects which opened before him in the civil service of his country, and cast his lot among the patriots of the army. His death was mourned with a sincere sorrow throughout the South. In the death of Gen. Maxcy Gregg, of South Carolina, the country lost one of its ablest and bravest soldiers. He had been in the struggle from the first note of war at Sumter, and gave his labors and his life to a cause which he regarded as one of the holiest for which a man could die. [240]

The following incident is related of this heroic officer. During the retreat of the Confederate army from Maryland, after the battle of Sharpsburg, Gen. Gregg commanded the rear guard, Gen. T. T. Munford. of Virginia, commanding the cavalry covering the rear-guard:

When Gen. Munford reached the ford, Gen. Gregg and his men were just entering the water to cross to the Virginia side of the Potomac. Near by was an ambulance filled with gallant Confederates (many of them terribly wounded and torn in the battle of the previous day), entreating their comrades to carry them back to old Virginia. Gen. Munford seeing that the frightened driver had abandoned them, taking his harness and team with him, and that they were unable to ride behind his men, called Gen. Gregg's attention to the fact, whereupon the generous old Roman, uncovering his head, said to his men: ‘Boys, see yonder your comrades who have been abandoned by a cowardly driver! They appeal to us for help! You who have escaped unhurt will not leave these poor fellows to their fate in sight of old Virginia.’ In an instant they were transferring their arms and knapsacks. One generous lad, supposed to belong to the 14th South Carolina volunteers, catching hold of the singletrees of the ambulance, exclaimed, ‘ We will carry them back to old Virginia.’ In less time than it takes to tell it, thirty of South Carolina's bravest sons were up to their waists in the water, bearing their comrades safely over the river, ambulance and all — the sad and gloomy countenances of the unfortunates seeming almost to forget their wounds as they caught up the strain, ‘Oh, carry me back to old Virginia, to old Virginia shore.’ Those who were too weak to sing waved their hats and handkerchiefs, and all were safely placed out of harm's way. As soon as this had been accomplished, Gen. Gregg replaced his hat and rode away to see that they were cared for.

The victory of Fredericksburg was achieved with a [241] small loss in point of numbers on the part of the Confederates; but among the honored dead there were many who yielded up their lives in joyful hope of a better life. Gen. Lee congratulated the army in the following general order, which, like all the utterances of that unequalled soldier and humble Christian, breathes the spirit of a true faith in God:

General orders, no. 138:

Headquarters Army of Northern Va., December 31, 1862.
1. The General Commanding takes this occasion to express to the officers and soldiers of the army his high appreciation of the fortitude, valor, and devotion displayed by them, which, under the blessing of Almighty God, have added the victory of Fredericksburg to the long lists of triumphs.

An arduous march, performed with celerity under many disadvantages, exhibited the discipline and spirit of the troops, and their eagerness to confront the foe.

The immense army of the enemy completed its preparation for the attack without interruption, and gave battle in its own time and on the ground of its own selection.

It was encountered by less than twenty thousand of this brave army, and its columns, crushed and broken, hurled back at every point with such fearful slaughter, that escape from entire destruction became the boast of those who had advanced in full confidence of victory.

That this great result was achieved with a loss small in point of numbers only augments the admiration with which the Commanding General regards the prowess of the troops, and increases his gratitude to Him who hath given us the victory.

The war is not yet ended. The enemy is still numerous and strong, and the country demands of the army a renewal of its heroic efforts in her behalf. Nobly has [242] it responded to her call in the past, and she will never appeal in vain to its courage and patriotism.

The signal manifestations of Divine mercy that have distinguished the eventful and glorious campaign of the year just closing, give assurance of hope that the guidance of the same Almighty hand, the coming year, will be no less fruitful of events that will insure the safety, peace, and happiness of our beloved country, and add new lustre to the already imperishable name of the Army of Northern Virginia.

R. E. Lee, General.

Of the battle of Murfreesboro, which closed this eventful year, General Bragg wrote on the night of December 31: “The bloodiest day of the war has closed.” At seven in the morning the Confederates attacked the Federal lines and, after ten hours hard fighting, took them at every point except on the extreme left, where they were successfully resisted. The vast numbers and resources of the Federals prevented us from seizing the fruits of this victory, and General Bragg in his dispatch said: “Unable to dislodge the enemy from his entrenchments. and hearing of reinforcements to him, I withdrew from his front.” Such was often the sequel to a hard-fought battle during the war. Just when we expected to enjoy all the fruits of a victory, they were snatched from our grasp.

On that field of blood death showed himself in most hideous forms. Rev. Dr. Joseph Cross, who was with General Bragg's army, thus describes the battle-field after the fight:

Ah! how many expired with the year. Here they lie, friend and foe, in every possible position, a vast promiscuous ruin.

They sleep their last sleep, they have fought their last battle;
No sound can awake them to glory again.

After a pretty thorough inspection of the ground in [243] the rear of our lines, from Stone river to the extreme left, I rode to the front, where the dead lie thick among the cedars, in proportion of five Yankees to one Southron. Here are sights to sicken the bravest hearts-sad lessons for human passion and oppression. Here is a foot, shot off at the ankle — a fine model for a sculptor. Here is an officer's hand, severed from the wrist, the glove still upon it, and the sword in its grasp. Here is an entire brain, perfectly isolated, showing no sign of violence, as if carefully taken from the skull that enclosed it; by the hands of a skillful surgeon. Here is a corpse, sitting upon the ground, with its back against a tree, in the most natural position of life, holding before its face the photograph likeness of a good-looking old lady, probably the dead man's mother. Here is a poor fellow, who has crawled into the corner of a fence to read his sister's letter, and expired in the act of its perusal, the precious document still open before him full of affectionate counsel. Here is a handsome young man, with a placid countenance, lying upon his back, his Bible upon his bosom, and his hands folded over it, as if he had gone to sleep saying his evening prayer. Many others present the melancholy contrast of scattered cards, obscene pictures, and filthy ballad books-“miserable comforters” for a dying hour. One lies upon his face literally biting the ground, his rigid fingers fastened firmly into the gory sod; and another, with upturned face, open eyes, knit brow, compressed lips, and clenched fists, displays all the desperation of vengeance imprinted on his clay. Dissevered heads, arms, legs, are scattered everywhere; and the coagulated pools of blood gleam ghastly in the morning sun. It is a fearful sight for Christian eyes!

The scenes on the battle-fields and in hospitals are full of incidents showing the power of Divine grace to cheer and support the soul in the dark hour of death. “Tell my mother,” said a dying soldier, “that I am lying [244] without hope of recovery. I have stood before the enemy fighting in a great and glorious cause, and have fallen. My hope is in Christ, for whose sake I hope to be saved. Tell her that she and my brother cannot see me again on earth, but they can meet me in heaven.” A little before bed-time of his last night he called to his surgeon (Mr. Leverett), and said: “Write to mother, and tell her she must meet me in heaven. I know I am going there.” Thus died T. S. Chandler, of the 6th South Carolina regiment.

When Captain John F. Vinson, of Crawford county, Ga., came to die, he exclaimed: “All is well-my way is clear — not a cloud intervenes.” As Lieut. Ezekiel Pickens Miller, of the 17th Mississippi regiment, fell mortally wounded on the field of Fredericksburg, he exclaimed: “Tell my father and mother not to grieve for me, for I am going to a better world than this.” In this battle the gallent General Hanson, of Kentucky, fell while leading his men in Breckenridge's desperate charge at Stone river. Being outnumbered two to one, and his men being utterly exhausted by six days exposure to cold and rain and four days incessant fighting, with a loss of one-fourth of their number in killed, wounded, and missing, Gen. Bragg wisely determined to fall back behind Duck river, and rest his wearied army. The headquarters of the army were subsequently established at Tullahoma, thirty-eight miles from the fatal field of Murfreesboro.

It was now that the signs of that wonderful revival in the army of the West began to appear. “I shall never forget,” says Rev. W. H. Browning, “the look of astonishment in the Association of Chaplains in January, 1863, when Bro. Winchester, a chaplain and a minister in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, announced a conversion in his command, and stated that he believed we were on the eve of one of the most glorious revivals ever witnessed on the American continent! His countenance [245] glowed with an unearthly radiance, and while he spoke ‘our hearts burned within us.’ He urged us to look for it-pray for it-preach for it. A revival in the army! The thing was incredible. And yet, while we listened to this man of faith, we could almost hear the shouts of redeemed souls that were being born to God. We could but catch the zeal of this good man, and went away resolved to work for a revival.”

This pious man was not permitted to participate in the revival which he so feelingly predicted. He was soon called to the spirit world, and from his home among the blessed looked down upon the glorious scenes of salvation among the soldiers whom he loved so ardently, and for whom he prayed with a faith strong and unfaltering.

A General Association of Chaplains and Missionaries had been formed in this army in August of this year (1863), but the subsequent movements interfered greatly with its complete organization, and it was not until November following that it was properly reorganized and made really efficient. Rev. Dr. McDonald, President of Lebanon University, was the President, and Rev. Walborn Mooney, of the Tennessee Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was the Secretary. The proceedings of this Association Mr. Browning supposes were lost in the subsequent reverses of the army, and hence we are cut off from most reliable information concerning the progress of the revival.

The seeds of truth were sown by such faithful laborers as Rev. M. B. DeWitt, chaplain of the 8th Tennessee, Rev. Mr. Weaver, of the 28th Tennessee, Rev. Timon Page, of the 52d Tennessee, and Rev. W. H. Browning, chaplain of Gen. Marcus Wright's brigade. In other portions of the army, under the preaching of Rev. S. M. Cherry, Rev. Messrs. Petway, Taylor, Henderson, and scores of other devoted and self-sacrificing ministers, the revival influence became deep and powerful.

Rev. L. R. Redding, Methodist, of the Georgia Conference, [246] M. E. Church, South, who labored as a missionary in this army, has furnished us an account of the work in his own and other corps during the winter and spring of 1863-‘64. Beginning his work in Gen. Gist's brigade, and aided by Rev. F. Auld, Rev. A. J. P. De Pass, and other zealous chaplains, he soon witnessed scenes that filled him with the highest joy. The congregations increased daily, and soon a permanent place of worship was established in the rear of the brigade. The soldiers, eager to hear the Word of Life, soon fell to work and built a rude but commodious chapel, and furnished it with pulpit, seats, and lights. It was dedicated in the presence of the General and his staff by Rev. Dr. J. B. McFerrin, who, with his well-known zeal, had devoted himself to the work of an army missionary. An immense congregation attended, and the “Word ran and was glorified.” From this time until the army marched away in the spring the revival progressed with increasing power. A Christian Association was formed, which met daily at half-past 8 in the morning, for the purpose of uniting the members of the various Churches, as well as the new converts, in the work of saving souls, of gathering the results of the night meetings, and of hearing the recitals of religious experience. These meetings were marked by great fervor and power. The young believers were organized into private prayer-meetings, which met at seven o'clock in the morning. “Sometimes,” says Mr. Redding, “I would quietly unpeg the door and walk in while the young men were engaged in their delightful meetings, and would find the young convert of the previous night leading in prayer, and earnestly invoking God's blessing upon his impenitent comrades.” In the evening, at the close of dress-parade, the drums would beat the Church call on Chapel Hill. It was a glorious sight, just as the setting sun bathed the mountain tops in his ruddy light, to see those toil-worn veterans gathering in companies and marching [247] to the house of the Lord. From all directions, down from the hills, out of the woods, across the valleys, they came, while the gallant Colonel McCullough, of the 16th South Carolina, himself a godly man, leads his men to the place of worship. Then the 24th South Carolina falls into line, led by their chaplain, Mr. Auld, and their brave Colonel Capers, son of the deceased Bishop Capers, of the Southern Methodist Church. The benches and the pulpit have to be removed from the house, and a dense multitude of hearers crown the chapel hill. A clear, strong voice starts a familiar old hymn, soon thousands of voices chime in, and the evening air is burdened with a great song of praise. The preacher now enters the stand, a thousand voices are hushed, a thousand hearts are stilled, to hear the word of the Lord. “Perhaps the speaker is Rev. William Burr, of Tennessee. As he rises with his theme, his silvery, trumpet-like voice, clear as a bugle note, rings far out over the mass of men, and hundreds sob with emotion as he reasons with them of righteousness, of temperance, and a judgment to come. At the close of the sermon, hundreds bow in penitence and prayer, many are converted, tattoo beats — the men disperse to their cabins, not to sleep, but to pray and sing with their sorrowing comrades; and far into the night the camps are vocal with the songs of Zion and the rejoicings of new-born souls.” In this revival, described by an eye-witness, one hundred and forty were converted in two weeks, among them Colonel Dunlap, of the 46th Georgia, who united with the Presbyterian Church. Among the private soldiers that contributed to the success of this work, we are glad to place on record the name of W. J. Brown, of Company I, 46th Georgia. His influence with his regiment was very great, and he threw it all in favor of religion.

But soon came the order to march; the chapel and the snug cabins were exchanged for the drenched and [248] dreary bivouac, and the sound of the gospel of peace for the notes of whistling minnies and bursting shells. In the battle, and in the hospital, the genuineness of those army conversions was fully tested. In the terrible campaign that followed, whenever the smoke of battle cleared away, and the weary men had a little rest, they gathered their shattered but undaunted cohorts, and, with renewed zeal, and with love tested in the fire of war, repledged their faith to each other and charged again and again the strongholds of Satan. Lying behind the strong barrier of the Chattahoochee river for a few days, these Christian soldiers built a brush arbor, and beneath it many souls were born of God. Dying, those noble men of the South gave testimony to the power of divine grace. “Can I do anything for you?” said the missionary, kneeling by the side of a private shot through the neck. “Yes, write to my poor wife.” “What shall I write?” “Say to my dear wife, it's all right.” This was written. “What else shall I write?” “Nothing else, all's right” --and thus he died. He was a convert of the camp.

“Passing through a large stable where the wounded lay,” says Mr. Redding, “I noticed a man whose head was frosted with age. After giving him wine and food, I said, ‘My friend, you are an old man. Do you enjoy the comforts of religion?’ ‘Oh, yes,’ he exclaimed, ‘I have been a member of the Church for twenty-five years. Often in our little church at home our minister told us that religion was good under all circumstances, and now I have found it true; for even here in this old stable, with my leg amputated, and surrounded by the dead and dying, I am just as happy as I can be. It is good even here. I want you to tell the people so when you preach to them.’ I left him rejoicing.”

Among the pious officers who worked faithfully in this revival, we have already mentioned Colonel Capers and Colonel Dunlap. We believe the former, since the war, [249] has entered the Protestant Episcopal Church, and, if we are not misinformed, is now in the ministry. Colonel Dunlap, converted in camp, became an earnest Christian, and labored with zeal and success to bring his men to Christ. He was five times wounded, but survived the war, and is now an honored citizen of Georgia.

General C. A. Evans was a Methodist, and a class-leader before the war. He entered as a private in the 31st Georgia volunteers, was elected Major at its organization, and Colonel at its reorganization six months afterward. He greatly distinguished himself at the battles around Richmond, at Manassas, and at Fredericksburg. He was promoted and put in command of Gen. Gordon's celebrated brigade. The last year of the war he commanded Gordon's old division. He was an earnest, working Christian, and in the midst of war the call came to him to preach the gospel, but he wore his sword until the fatal day of Appomattox, when, with his noble comrades, he laid down the weapons of war, returned to his home, and was soon afterward licensed to preach and received into the Georgia Conference, M. E. Church, South. It is a singular incident that his first Circuit was called Manassas, and that his junior preacher was one of his old army couriers. He is still actively engaged in the ministerial work.

The revival was hardly less powerful in those regiments and brigades which were favored with the regular services of chaplains than in those that had none. The 2d Arkansas, of Liddell's brigade, Cleburn's division, had no chaplain at the time of which we write, but they were led by pious officers who strove to stem the tide of irreligion. “Lieutenant-Colonel Harvey, Captain Ht. D. Gregg, Lieutenant Wilfong, and others, being profoundly impressed with the great need of religious services, formed themselves into a band of Christian soldiers and began a moral warfare against the powers of darkness. They fought gallantly and well. They became really [250] zealous and watchful pastors over their men. Mingling with the group around the crackling camp-fires, they seasoned conversation with religion. Profanity and vulgarity were rebuked, and cowered before the mild, living words of truth; many out-breaking sinners pledged themselves to pure lives, and by hundreds joined the band. They promised solemnly not to swear, nor gamble, nor to break the Sabbath, to use no spirituous liquors as a beverage, to indulge in no vicious habits, to cease to do evil and learn to do well. They held regular prayer, meetings, searched the Scriptures, exhorted one another daily, met and reported progress, and with fresh zeal returned again to their good work. When the harvest was so ripe for the sickle, who can wonder that when the Word was preached with power and unction among such men, thousands were gathered into the garner of the Lord?” Many of these brave soldiers afterward fell in battle; “but who can doubt,” asks Rev. A. L. Davis, from whom we quote, “that their works shall live after them?” They sleep, indeed, in unknown graves along the line of that sad retreat from Dalton to Atlanta, but they live forever honored in the annals of their country, and forever enshrined in the hearts of their countrymen.

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