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Chapter 6: first fruits. Summer and autumn of 1861.

The Southern people entered upon the dreadful ordeal of war with extreme reluctance.

History will attest that in every honorable way they strove to avert the threatened danger.

Regarding the political tenets which culminated in the elevation of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency of the United States as fraught with evil to the South, they resolved to assert those rights of Sovereign States which they had learned from the fathers of the Republic; and to attempt the establishment of a government free from those disturbing causes which had for many years threatened the peace of the Union. The South was not alone in its apprehensions of danger from the triumph of a sectional party. Wise and moderate men at the North felt and expressed their fears for the safety of the country. A prominent divine, in a funeral discourse on the eminent Judge McLean, of the Supreme Court of the United States, who was taken away just as the dark shadows began to fall on the land, says:

He told me that he had marked the downward progress of our nation and of our government for many years; that he knew that, as a people, we had become corrupt to the very core; that politics had degenerated into a mere trade, or rather a mere gambling speculation; and he added, with emphatic solemnity, and, as there is too much reason to fear, with prophetic sagacity, ‘I do not believe there is virtue enough in the nation to sustain such a government as ours much longer.’ In one of the last letters I received from him, he repeated with great [87] confidence the remark that our national corruption had destroyed us.

The attempt to coerce the South into submission, after the right of self-government had been asserted in the most solemn and authoritative forms, was felt to be a war of invasion, and the determination to resist was deep and almost universal. The strong feelings of religion and patriotism were evoked at the same moment, and by the same act, and men entered the ranks under the conviction that in so doing they were faithful alike to God and their country. This we must bear in mind, or we shall not be prepared for that pervasive spiritual influence which so eminently marked the Southern armies. That these convictions were well founded, the revival which moved with the war, and deepened as it deepened, was the great attestation. The revival in our armies, tried by all the tests known to men, was a genuine revival; its fruits were rich, abundant, and permanent. It was carried forward by the means which have been employed for the salvation of men in all ages; and to-day there are thousands in heaven, and tens of thousands on earth, who enjoy the blessedness of that spiritual baptism which fell upon them amidst the strife, and anguish, and bloodshed of war.

The best index to the state of mind and heart with which the Southern people entered upon the war may be found in the religious papers of that period.

The secular papers were employed in discussing the great political doctrines involved; it is in the religious press that we are to find those views of religious duty which the soldiers took with them into the army.

The honored President of the Confederacy struck the key-note of national feeling in the following extract from one of his earliest messages:

We feel that our cause is just and holy; we profess solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace at any sacrifice, save that of honor and independence; we [88] seek no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind from the States with which we were lately confederated; all we ask is to be let alone; that those who never held power over us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms. This we will, this we must resist to the direst extremity. The moment that this pretension is abandoned the sword will drop from our grasp, and we shall be ready to enter into treaties of amity and commerce that cannot but be mutually beneficial.

The religion of the people, no less than their patriotism, fully responded to these sentiments. One thing, indeed, the world must understand, that while the Christian people of the Southern States engaged in the war, they did so under the full sense of what behooved them as members of the Church of Christ.

In the early part of the war, in an “Address to Christians throughout the world,” signed by one hundred of the prominent ministers of the various denominations in the South, the following language was held:

The war is forced upon us. We have always desired peace. After a conflict of opinions between the North and the South, in Church and State, of more than thirty years, growing more bitter and painful daily, we withdraw from them to secure peace — they send troops to compel us into re-union! Our proposition was peaceable separation, saying, ‘We are actually divided, our nominal union is only a platform of strife.’ The answer is a call for troops to force submission to a government whose character, in the judgment of the South, has been sacrificed to sectionalism.

The Southern people did not shrink from, indeed they courted, an investigation into the moral and religious condition of the slaves, that unfortunate race, concerning whom they have been so thoroughly misunderstood and abused.

In the same address, it was said:

We are aware that in respect to the moral aspects of [89] the question of slavery, we differ from those who conceive of emancipation as a measure of benevolence, and on that account we suffer much reproach which we are conscious of not deserving.

With all the facts of the system of slavery before us, as eye witnesses and ministers of the word, having had perfect understanding of all things' on this subject of which we speak, we may surely claim respect for our opinions and statements.

Most of us have grown up from childhood among the slaves; all of us have preached to and taught them the word of life; have administered to them the ordinances of the Christian Church: sincerely love them as souls for whom Christ died; we go among them freely and know them in health and sickness, in labor and rest, from infancy to old age. We are familiar with their physical and moral condition, and alive to all their interests, and we testify in the sight of God, that the relation of master and slave among us, however we may deplore abuses in this, as in other relations of mankind, is not incompatible with our holy Christianity, and that the presence of the African in our land is an occasion of gratitude on their behalf, before God; seeing that thereby Divine Providence has brought them where missionaries of the Cross may freely proclaim to them the word of salvation, and the work is not interrupted by agitating fanaticism. The South has done more than any people on earth for the Christianization of the African race. The condition of slaves here is not wretched, as Northern fictions would have men believe, but prosperous and happy, and would have been yet more so but for the mistaken zeal of abolitionists. Can emancipation obtain for them a better portion? The practicable plan for benefitting the African race must be the providential plan — the scriptural plan. We adopt that plan in the South, and while the State should seek by wholesome legislation to regard the interests of master and slave, [90] we as ministers would. preach the word to both as we are commanded of God. This war has not benefitted the slaves. Those that have been encouraged or compelled to leave their masters have gone, and we aver can go, to no state of society that offers them any better things than they have at home, either in respect to their temporal or eternal welfare.

We regard abolitionism as an interference with the plans of Divine Providence. It has not the sign of the Lord's blessing. It is a fanaticism which puts forth no good fruit; instead of blessing, it has brought forth cursing; instead of love, hatred; instead of life, death-bitterness and sorrow and pain and infidelity and moral degeneracy follow its labors. We remember how the Apostle has taught the minister of Jesus upon this subject, saying, “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, heresies, disputings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” This is what we teach.

Speaking of the religious work of the South, they say:

The Christians of the South, we claim, are pious, intelligent, and liberal. Their pastoral and missionary work have claims of peculiar interest. There are hundreds of thousands here, both white and colored, who [91] are not strangers to the blood that bought them. We rejoice that the great Head of the Church has not despised us. We desire as much as in us lieth to live peaceably with all men, and though reviled, to revile not again.

Our soldiers were before the war our fellow-citizens, and many of them are of the household of faith, who have carried to the camp so much of the leaven of Christianity that amid all the demoralizing influences of army life the good work of salvation has gone forward there.

Our President, some of our most influential statesmen, our Commanding General, and an unusual proportion of the principal Generals, as well as scores of other officers, are prominent, and we believe consistent members of the Church. Thousands of our soldiers are men of prayer.

“In conclusion,” said these representatives of the religious sentiments of the South, “we ask for ourselves, our churches, our country, the devout prayers of all God's people--‘ the will of the Lord be done.’ ”

The spirit which marked the Churches in the North and in the South was widely different. Referring to this, a leading Southern religious paper said:

They of the Northern Church say that they “glory in this war.” We of the South glory in no such thing. Forced to defend ourselves, we shall certainly meet our enemies without an iota of fear, and hope to drive them back to a glory they will not be proud of in history; but we will warn them, in the name of truth and God, to pause before they put foot on Southern soil. Every man in the South who is strong enough to pull a trigger is ready to do it, and here we stand to defend ourselves while a man, woman or child of the South is alive. While the Northern Christians are so piously trusting in superior numbers, we arm, and fast, and pray, and our cry is, 0, Lord of Hosts, we trust in thee! While they are making every effort to get up and keep at fever heat [92] the Northern war spirit, we need no appeals beyond their own ferocious and boastful cries to keep us ready for their coming. And while they claim to have God's blessing, we are content,--if God bless them with success, be it so,--he is the Lord, let him do what he will. We know “in whom” we “have believed.” We seek no man's blood, and we are not afraid while the Lord reigneth.

Another thus expressed the belief of almost the entire population of the Southern States:

In this unhappy war we find, on our side, no compromise of Christian principle. The South has accepted it as a last necessity — an alternative in which there was no choice but submission to a dynasty considered oppressive, and in its very principles antagonistic to her rights and subversive of her existence.

Hence her sons, who are true Christians, have no compunctions of conscience when they go forth in her armies. They find, on the contrary, an approbation of conscience in their decision to fight for their homes and altars. “In the name of our God we set up our banners.” We go to meet the invaders “in the name of the Lord of hosts.”

We speak the common sentiment of Southern Christians when we say that we are willing for Him to decide this contest on its merits. We protest, in the face of Heaven, we want nothing but our rights, we demand nothing but our rights. We have wronged no man, no State, no government. What is our own, and nothing more, do we claim.

It is this view of the case that has caused so large a representation from the domain of the Church in the army of the Confederate States. The very love for justice and righteousness — the intense sympathy with equity, for its own sake-engendered in the heart by the Spirit of truth, have influenced the hundreds of Israel to gird on the sword.

While the war was accepted as a dire necessity, our [93] people were urged to draw from its calamities the most salutary lessons. Another journal exhorted us to remember that “He who rules and overrules all things after the counsels of His own will, suffers no wind to rise that does not blow good to somebody. To His people. especially, every wind, from the gentle breeze to the terrible hurricane, bears seeds of blessing on its wings. Full often, too, it is the violent wind that scatters these seeds most widely and abundantly-converting the scene of its devastation into the richest harvest-field of happiness for those who exercise the husbandry of faith and patience. May we not make this our experience, as respects the storm of war which beats on the land, threatening to rain tears and blood through all our borders? May we not gather from it lessons of highest value, on the insecurity of earthly things, the folly of idolatrous attachment to the possessions of the present life, and the necessity of a better and an enduring substance in heaven? May it not awaken us to the blessedness of sacrifice and suffering for a great and worthy cause? May it not enforce the wisdom of constant readiness for eternity, and lead to a closer walk with God and a more unwavering trust in him? May it not deepen the sense of personal guiltiness and strip the mask more and more from the deformity of sin, as shadowed forth in the selfishness and the desolation of war? May it not render increasingly precious the privilege of intercession, which casts all our care for those we love upon One who loves them far more? May it not lead us to recognize, with profounder gratitude, the hand of God in all that is left to us of temporal blessing? Oh! these, and many other teachings of like sort, Eternal Wisdom reads to us out of the volume of war. Be it our purpose and prayer, to hearken with obedient ear to the stern but salutary instruction.”

Even when our people were wild with excitement, and the cry, “To arms! To arms!” resounded through the [94] land, they were counselled to moderation, and to a cultivation of charitable feelings towards those who opposed them:

Men's heads,

said a prominent journalist,

may be wrong when their hearts are right. This we must bear in mind; for it will not do to discredit the whole Christianity of the North. A deep and prevalent political heresy, an overwhelming outside pressure, a misapprehension of the principles and purpose of those against whom they war, local prejudices, social atmosphere, a mental bias and ignorance that is not wholly voluntary-these all must be taken into the account in our moral estimate of many of our enemies, even those proposing, for their good and our own, to subjugate or exterminate us. And we must consider these things if we would fulfill the commandment, “Love your enemies.”

Love is the royal law, and its dues are not intermitted even in war. It is never superseded by martial law, or any other law. Always difficult of exercise, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you,” is now the severe test of Christian character on a national scale.

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you live peaceably with all men.” It may not always be possible. In our case it is clearly impossible unless we sacrifice rights, in the defence and preservation of which the highest duties to God and man are involved. But even in this case we must, and by grace we can, keep the heart free from malice, hatred, revenge.

Another, in the following earnest strain, begged the people not to forget God, and their duties to him, while they buckled on the weapons of carnal warfare:

Do not, my brother, let your mind run too exclusively upon our political condition-do not think too constantly about the war. There is something of more moment to us than what is involved in these questions which are shaking our social fabric to its foundations. The Christian is interested in a greater contest than that [95] which founds or upturns empires. Momentous as our present revolution is, it is but one of the passing incidents of the world's long history, and to be classed only as an important one among the many contingencies of a life-time-none of which should ever rise between our faith and the view of things eternal. No Christian duty or work should be intermitted, because greater events than we have yet known are passing in review and obtruding upon our anxious minds. Great as they are, the work of a Christian is greater still. Our duty may be fully done to our country, but we are undone if it be not discharged toward God. Our country may be saved and ourselves lost. Peace may come to the land, while war springs up between our hearts and God. A worldly inheritance may be gained, and yet its cost may be the sacrifice of a heavenly. A great republic may rise out of the chaos around us, while the kingdom of heaven, which should be our first love and our constant care, may become secondary in our affections.

The felt dependence of the people on God in their momentous struggle expressed itself in the calls that were made for earnest and importunate prayer. It was widely proposed through the religious papers of the South,

that at precisely one O'Clock, every day, until these calamities be overpast, a few minutes be set apart for prayer by each individual in the Confederate States, or in States which sympathize with the Southern Confederacy. There may be no meeting for prayer at any particular place, but let each one for himself, wherever he may be, at one o'clock, spend a little while in devout supplication to the Almighty. Let the merchant retire for a moment from his counting-room, or if this be not possible, let him lift up his heart to God in pious ejaculation; let the farmer stop his plough in the furrow; let the mechanic stay his hand from labor; let the physician pause for a moment on his mission of mercy; let the lawyer lay aside his brief; let the student rest from his [96] toil; let the mother lay her babe in the cradle; let the busy housewife suspend her domestic cares; let every man, whatever his calling or pursuits, suspend them; let all business halt, and the whole land be still. In that moment of quiet, in very mid-day, when stillness is so unusual, when it will be then all the more impressive, let every praying soul remember his country and its defenders before God. It would be best, it possible, to retire for the moment to some private place, and on bended knees give oral utterance to the desire of the heart. But if this cannot be done, the silent prayer may be sent up to God as we walk the street or pursue our journey, or even in the midst of all the whirl and din of business life. Thus shall every heart be engaged, and every soul come to the rescue; thus shall all the devout of the land be brought nigh to each other, for

Though sundered far, by faith they meet,
Around one common mercy-seat.

In midsummer of 1861, the President, in accordance with the recommendation of the Confederate Congress, called the people to fasting, humiliation, and prayer, declaring in his proclamation, that “it becomes us to recognize God's righteous government, to supplicate his merciful protection, and to implore the Lord of Hosts to guide and direct our policy in the paths of right, justice, and mercy.” In response, the Christian people of the South bowed, fasting and praying, before the Throne of Grace, supplicating the guidance and protection of the God of their fathers.

A leading journal, in urging the people to a higher national morality, said, in view of the general observance of this day:

Two weeks ago hundreds of thousands of them were assembled in our churches, fasting and praying. Confession was made of sins, thanks were rendered for mercies, and our defensive struggle was commended unto God.


The following description of the manner in which the day was observed at Galveston, Texas, will give an idea of the unanimity and fervor of the people all over the South:

In this city the day was observed with unparalleled unanimity. All places of business were closed; a Sabbath stillness reigned in the streets; and our places of prayer were filled several successive times with solemn and devout worshippers. At five o'clock morning prayer meeting the Methodist church was crowded; and so of the Presbyterian church at the nine o'clock prayer-meeting, and the Baptist church at the prayer-meeting which closed with the setting of the sun. Sermons appropriate to the occasion were preached in several of the churches at eleven o'clock. The Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist denominations united their arrangements, by special agreement. It is a day long to be remembered in Galveston; and will, we feel confident, leave a lasting impression for good. The prayers were fervent for the prosperity of the Confederate States; for the success of their cause; for those in authority; for our generals and armies; for our enemies, that God would give them a better mind; for a speedy and honorable peace, or for the victory of our armies in the war of independence, if it must be waged.

Those who entered the army went with the most ardent prayers and the most fervent exhortations to be good patriots and good Christians. In the midst of every company, just before it started for the camp, might be heard the voice of the minister humbly invoking the blessing of God on those who were going forth to the strife of war. And after they reached the army they were not forgotten; prayer went up hourly for the gallant men who stood in battle array, and by private letters and the public press they were exhorted to bear themselves like men that feared God.

The venerable Bishop Andrew, of the M. E. Church, [98] South, in writing to the ministers and members of his Church in the army, said:

Remember, brethren, wherever you are, that you are ministers of the Lord Jesus; never let the Christian minister be merged in the soldier. You will, doubtless, in camp, be surrounded by those who will have little sympathy with your religious views and feelings, and who will closely and constantly scrutinize your whole conduct. Oh, do not, by any inadvertence of act or speech, give occasion for the enemies of Christ to blaspheme; but let your walk be such as to constrain them to glorify your Father in heaven. Oh, be witnesses for Jesus!

“There is no position in which a Christian can be placed in which he may not exert much influence for good. It will be necessary to reprove those who sin, and it is an important lesson to learn how to give reproof in love and gentleness, and yet with faithfulness, and a proper measure of Christian dignity. Many opportunities will be afforded you of strengthening the weak, and recovering those who are just on the verge of falling. And should you so deport yourselves as to command the confidence and respect of your companions in arms, you will find many unexpected calls for advice. Strive to prepare yourself to give it. In a word, be a thorough and consistent Christian yourself, and you will be always prepared to help others. Yet once more, the voice of affliction will frequently greet your ears: a brother soldier, sick and dying far from home and loved ones, is struggling with disease and death among those who are comparatively strangers; no wife's or mother's or sister's soft hand chafes his fevered brow, or with woman's sweet and gentle voice, speaking words of kindness, points the dying man to Him of Calvary,--how sweet, under these circumstances, will be the words of kindness from your lips, and how grateful to his ears the voice of prayer and praise, as you kneel beside him and wrestle with God in his behalf, and talk sweetly to him of Jesus and [99] his salvation I But, oh! who can describe the blighting influence of one ungodly minister in a company or regiment! May God preserve our armies from all such!”

These extracts, which might be indefinitely multiplied, will show the religious animus of the Southern people when they entered upon the war.

We have now reached a point from which we may cast our eyes over the assembled hosts of the South, and mark the buddings of that glorious work of grace which is the great moral phenomenon of the present age.

There have been revivals in the midst of wars in other countries, and in other times; but history records none so deep, so pervasive, so well marked by all the characteristics of a divine work as that which shed its blessed light on the armies of the South in their struggle for independence.

So vast were the proportions of the revival in the second, third and fourth years of the war, that we are apt to overlook the first fruits in the opening of the conflict. In the spring of 1861 the troops were gathered at the important points of defence. The chief interest centred on Virginia, as it was felt that, after the affair of Fort Sumter, the storm would burst upon her soil.

In the armies stationed at Manassas, Winchester, Norfolk, Aquia Creek, and other places, the most cheering signs appeared.

Rev. C. F. Fry, of the Baptist Colportage Board, wrote from the Army in the Valley of Virginia:

I have visited most of the encampments in the Valley, and could have sold more than $100 worth of books a month if my assortment had been larger-especially if I could have had a good supply of Testaments. A captain said to me, ‘I am a sinner, and wish you to select some books to suit my case.’ I did so; and at night he called his men into line and asked me to pray for them. Another captain seemed much interested on the subject of religion. I tried to explain to him the way to be [100] saved, and in a few days I heard of his fighting bravely at Manassas. I have prayer and exhortation meetings frequently, which are well attended, and often tears flow from eyes unused to weep, while I point them to the Lamb of God.

Rev. R. W. Cridlin wrote of his labors at Norfolk and the vicinity:

I visited Craney Island last Saturday. Col. Smith, who has charge of the forces there, is a pious man, and has prayers with his men every night. He seemed glad to have me labor among his command, and will doubtless render me any aid I may need.

Mr. J. C. Clopton wrote from among the sick and wounded at Charlottesville:

This is a most inviting field, as hundreds are here on beds of suffering, and consequently disposed to consider things that make for their peace. The deepest feeling is often manifested; they listen to what I say, and read with great eagerness the tracts and books I give them.

Another faithful colporteur, Mr. M. D. Anderson, said of the scenes he witnessed at Fredericksburg and Aquia Creek:

I have gone nearly through the regiments stationed between Fredericksburg and the Creek. The soldiers are eager for religious reading; and frequently, when they have seen me coming, they have even run to meet me, exclaiming, ‘Have you any Testaments?’ Much of my time has been spent with the sick in the hospitals, where, oftentimes, my heart was made to rejoice at witnessing the sustaining power of Christianity in those who were struggling with the last enemy. One, with whom I had often conversed on personal religion, was sick-nigh unto death; I stood by him, but doubted the propriety of speaking; at last, he fixed his eyes upon me and said: ‘Talk to me about Jesus.’ I asked if the Lord was with him, and he replied, ‘Yes, with me, and that to bless. I know that my Redeemer liveth,’ &c. [101] Another remarked to me that at home he had been a prominent member of the Church; but that since he had been in camp he had wandered off and brought reproach upon his profession, but that this sickness, from which he was then suffering, had been blessed to his soul, and that he should, with divine help, live a new life and consecrate himself to the cause of God. I have been able to supply many with the Bible, especially as the President of the Christian Association in Fredericksburg had given me a fine lot of Bibles.

A writer, speaking of the religious services in the Fourth North Carolina regiment, says:

There are four ministers of the gospel attached to this regiment. Sabbath before last a most solemn service was held at Garysburg. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered to the Christian professors of the regiment. The services were conducted by Rev. Captain Miller, aided by several other clergymen. The thought that it would probably be the last time in which some would participate in the ordinance, and that before another opportunity occurs they might be on the field of battle, affected every mind, and gave great tenderness to the meeting.

“I have spent,” says Rev. W. J. W. Crowder,

most of the time for several weeks among the soldiers, to whom I gave about 2,0,000 pages of tracts, and Lad conversations on personal religion with over 2,300 in their camps and hospitals. I find many of them pious, daily reading the Bible and praying to God. But, by far, the largest portion of them are irreligious. In three companies, of about three hundred men, only seven were professors of religion, and there were but few Bibles and Testaments among them. A lady requested me to give for her all I had of the excellent tract, “Come to Jesus,” $10.76 worth; a copy of which I gave to a soldier one Sunday morning, on which I marked the 91st Psalm. The Sunday following he wished me to sit with him in [102] his tent. He stated that the tract caused him to get his Bible and read the Psalm. On opening to it he was surprised to find a piece of paper pinned to this Psalm, upon which was written in a beautiful hand by his sister Emma these lines:

When from home receding,
And from hearts that ache to bleeding,
Think of those behind who love thee;
Think how long the night will be
To the eyes that weep for thee.
God bless thee and keep thee.

The melting tenderness before God in that tent cannot be expressed. Some of his mates were religious and ready to encourage him in seeking salvation.

The same useful man says that when he handed his tracts to the soldiers they would say, “This is the kind of reading we want, to help us fulfill the promises we made to our wives, parents, sisters, ministers, and loved ones on leaving home, that we would seek God to be our guide and refuge.”

“Such expressions,” he says, “I have frequently heard from a great many of the more than 7,000 soldiers with whom I have talked on personal religion.”

A prominent officer came to Mr. C. and said: “I feel it my duty to say that the good influence exerted upon the minds and actions of our men by the Bibles, books, and tracts you have sent us. is incalculable; and, to my knowledge, they have been blessed of God in producing a spirit of religious inquiry with many of a most encouraging character. I trust you and Christian friends at home will continue to supply all our soldiers with this means of grace, which is so well adapted to our spiritual wants, and can be diffused among us as perhaps no other can so effectually.”

“A soldier,” he says,

came to express his thanks for the saving influence of the tracts he had received since being in camp. He believes they were sent to him in [103] answer to a pious mother's prayers. He stated that before leaving home he felt but little interest in religion, but now it is his delight and comfort.

Another soldier, in a Mississippi regiment, writes that the tract, “ Come to Jesus,” has been the means of leading him to Christ since being in Virginia.

“Many persons,” says a writer from the 19th Virginia regiment, “having relatives and friends in the army, are concerned about the religious privileges which we enjoy. A brief sketch of this feature of camp life in the 19th regiment will doubtless be gratifying to them. Every night the voice of prayer and praise is heard in one or more of the tents, and on the Sabbath mornings and evenings and on Wednesday nights, sermons are preached in a church in the immediate vicinity of the camp by the chaplain, the Rev. P. Slaughter, assisted by the Rev. Mr. Griffin. The interest of these services was much enhanced on last Sunday by the celebration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper, and by the admission of three officers to their first communion. Many hearty prayers were offered that they may manfully fight under the banner of the Cross, and continue Christ's faithful soldiers until their lives end. It is encouraging to see the disposition of those in command to furnish facilities for public worship, and the alacrity of the men in responding to every call, marching to church sometimes in double quick time, lest they should fail to get seats. Let those who remain in their pleasant homes remember the soldier in the tented field. He needs the grace of God to enable him to bear patiently the toils and sufferings of the campaign, even more than to face the enemy in the field.”

Good tidings came from many other portions of the army. Scenes like the following became more frequent every week:

For more than a week a revival has been in progress among the soldiers stationed at Ashland. Services are [104] held every night in the Baptist church, and the seats set apart for the anxious are frequently well nigh filled by the soldiers, who are asking for the prayers of God's people. Rev. W. E. Hatcher, of Manchester, preaches every night. At Aquia Creek thirty have professed conversion within a few weeks, a number of whom were baptized in the Potomac by Rev. Geo. F. Bagby, a chaplain. The entire regiment with which the converts were connected turned out to witness the ceremony. Our informant says he has never looked upon a more lovely and impressive scene. We understand that a protracted meeting is in progress in Col. Cary's regiment, and that Rev. Andrew Broaddus, of Caroline, is officiating. We hear of another revival in which twelve soldiers professed conversion, five of whom united with the Methodists, four with the Baptists, and the remainder with the Presbyterians. The religious community of the Confederate States ought to feel encouraged, by these tokens of the Divine power, to put forth still greater efforts in behalf of the spiritual welfare of our army. Fully one-third of the soldiers are destitute of a copy of the New Testament, and of all other religious reading.

From Fairfax Court-house Rev. J. M. Carlisle wrote to a religious paper at Richmond:

As chaplain of the 7th regiment, South Carolina Volunteers, I desire to return thanks to certain unknown parties, in your city, for a donation of religious books and tracts, forwarded to me for distribution among the soldiers. They were gladly received, and are being generally read, and I trust will be a positive good. May the blessing of God be upon those whose gift they are.

These brief records reveal a deep sense of religious obligation, and much zeal and prayer among our soldiers, even at this early period of the war.

The battles which occurred during the time of which we write showed the purity and power of religion in the face of danger and death. Shortly after the [105] battle of Great Bethel, in Virginia, a writer, speaking ing of the religious influence among the soldiers, said:

There is reason to hope that the scene of the late glorious battle below Yorktown was, indeed, a ‘Bethel,’ the ‘house of God,’ the very gate of heaven, to some of the brave, but previously irreligious, young men engaged in it. It is certainly a delightful thought, and one full of encouragement for the future of our country, that God is with us, not only in the sense of giving victory to our arms, but also, present by his Holy Spirit, impressing the hearts of our soldiers, and turning their thoughts to himself in grateful recognition of his merciful dealings with them.

During this battle an incident occurred of a deeply interesting character. Captain John Stewart Walker, of the company known as the “Virginia life guard,” was ordered by the Commanding General to take his men from the front, where they were doing good service, to the flank to hold in check a heavy force of the enemy supposed to be moving in that direction. On reaching his new post of danger, Captain Walker drew up his company and addressed them in a few stirring words. He reminded them that God had mercifully preserved them in the heat of battle, and that they were now called to face the enemy in greater numbers; that, as Christians and patriots, they should resolve to do their whole duty to their country; then, kneeling down, he called upon a minister, who was a private in the ranks, to offer prayer. When they arose, nearly every eye was suffused with tears, and God was felt to be present. During that day of battle it is said that three of this company sought and obtained the pardon of their sins.

The religious services were well attended by the troops stationed at Yorktown, and were not without spiritual fruits. The Colonel Hill referred to in the following extract from the letter of a soldier was afterwards General [106] D. H. Hill, a soldier of the Cross, as valiant for Christ as he was for his country:

We had two sermons yesterday; one last night by Mr. Page. It is quite romantic to see four or five hundred soldiers gathered under trees; some sitting on camp stools or the ground, others standing, while the moon comes peeping through the leaves, shedding light and beauty on all around. Then, when the hymn is given out, to hear so many manly voices join in praise to the God of the universe, renders the service very solemn and impressive. This is truly a time and place to cause man to reflect on his latter end — not knowing at what moment he may be hurried into eternity. I have heard much less profane swearing since Colonel Hill gave us a lecture a short time ago. I have not seen a man, no matter how wicked, but acknowledged that the God of battles was with us and shielded us in the hour of danger.

This lecture of Col. Hill is more fully described by an officer writing to a religious paper from Yorktown; he says:

Yesterday was emphatically a day of rest to us all. We had only to undergo an inspection of arms and attend dress parade in the evening, which was a light day's work. At night we had a good sermon from Mr. Yates, our chaplain, and a plenty of good singing. After Mr. Yates had finished, Col, Hill gave us a fine address, full of good advice and counsel, every word of which was exactly fitted to his hearers. He has cut off all spirits of every kind, and not a drop is to be had in camp; he is down on profanity; told us last night that he knew many regarded swearing as a sort of necessity attaching to a soldier; that it gave emphasis and eclat to the speech, but he said no greater mistake could be made; that, for his part, he would be afraid to trust to the courage of the man who had to bolster it up with whiskey and profanity. The God-fearing, moral soldier was the man to [107] depend on. He spoke of Washington, Cromwell, and others of like caste; said they are the men to be successful; that the enemy seldom saw the backs of such men. He told us that three times since we had been in this camp, the long role had sounded, and we had promptly answered, expecting in a few hours to meet the enemy and risk our chances of success. He said he would, however, venture to say, that under these circumstances many of us had called upon God for help, who had neglected to do so while they felt secure. He appealed to them to know if, as soldiers and fair men, this was reasonable and proper. He appealed to the moral men in camp to let their influence be felt; said that a few might deride them at first, but they would be few, and if these men did their duty in all the varied scenes of camp life, these scoffers would see it, and soon hang their heads in shame. Thus he went on for half an hour; not a man left his place, not a word was said, and save the constant coughing of the sick, we had perfect silence. I confess this will give you but a poor idea of the best speech I ever heard, taking the time, place, and circumstances, into consideration.

The battle of Manassas, on the 21st, and the preliminary fight at Blackburn's Ford, on the 18th of July, were both marked by striking instances of Christian heroism and devotion. The peaceful and often triumphant deaths of pious officers and men had a powerful influence for good on the hearts of careless and irreligious persons. “I have known many noble specimens of the Christian soldier,” said Rev. Dr. John C. Granbery, then chaplain of the 11th Virginia regiment, afterwards Superintendent of Methodist missionaries in Gen. Lee's army, whom the soldiers will never forget on account of his zeal and faithfulness; “I shall never cease to remember with admiration one of the earliest victims of this war, Major Carter Harrison, of the 11th Virginia. He was an earnest servant of Christ; modest, firm, unostentatious, [108] zealous. He seized at once the hearts of the regiment by his many virtues, by his courtesy to all and his kind visits to the sick, to whom he bore a word not only of sympathy, but also of pious exhortation. On the lovely morning of July 18th, as we awaited the advance of the enemy and the opening of our first battle, our conversation was on sacred things. In a few hours he was mortally wounded, and until midnight endured untold agony; but in his soul was the peace of God, and all was patiently borne for the sake of God and country. He was ready to be offered up, and to leave even his loved family, at the call of duty. I had a conversation with him; he spoke of his faith in Providence, and the answers to prayer which he daily received. I questioned him concerning the state of his mind at the time. He replied that it did not rest on any subject, but now thought of a military order, and then of a Scriptural promise; now of his country, and then of his family; and often arose in a holy ejaculation to God. His flesh rests in hope; his spirit rose to God.”

“ I recall,” says Dr. Granbury, “an interview with the sweet-spirited and gallant Captain James K. Lee, of Richmond, Va. ‘How glad I am,’ said he as he gave me a cordial grasp, ‘to shake the hand of a brother in Christ!’ I referred with sympathy to his intense sufferings. With emphasis he answered, ‘Oh, they are nothing to the sufferings which Jesus bore for me,!’ In a few days he too was in the bosom of his Father.”

On Sunday, July 21, 1861, was fought the first battle of Manassas. “As the first gun was fired,” says the same writer, “a few minutes after 7 A. M., I mounted my horse and hastened from the Junction to our regiment, still stationed at Blackburn's Ford. On my way I met several regiments, some of them Mississippians, moving from that Ford to some other part of the line of action. I hailed them as they passed: ‘Virginia's salutation to her sister Mississippi! Let each State of the [109] Southern Confederacy cover herself with glory, and pour a common glory on the cause of the united South to-day. God bless you, friends. Commit your souls and the righteous cause you uphold to him.’ Rev. Dr. Bocock was with me, and addressed them in a similar strain. I cannot tell much of this day's work. The hard fighting was on our left, and we had nothing to do but to take quietly the cannonading of the enemy, Being a noncombatant, I was not exposed, but I sat beneath a hill by a wounded soldier and read to him the 13th and 14th chapters of John.” Of his feelings in this first battle he says:

I sat down by Captain Rev. F, J. Boggs, and we conversed about the strange manner in which we were spending the Sabbath. He wore a determined but anxious face. His company had been in the hottest of the fight on Thursday, and acted nobly. He spoke of the souls now being sent into eternity, and of the hard conflict raging above us, whose guns were incessantly roaring in our ears, whose issue was so doubtful. We watched the bombs as they exploded in quick succession over the spot which his regiment had left a few minutes before. So moved on the hours.. Our men had eaten not a mouthful all day. At length our suspense is broken by a loud cheering. Down, down the Run, from left to right, flew the shouting, taken up by successive regiments. Here comes Gen. M., with an intensely excited countenance. ‘What means that shouting?’ he asks. ‘ The enemy flee, and the day is ours,’ we replied, for so we interpreted. ‘Are you sure that the cheers are on our side?’ ‘ I will run to the South Carolinians and enquire,’ I replied. So off I hasted, and got to them just in time to see the two last companies form and march in pursuit of the routed foe. Then we took up the cheering, and fell in the pursuit. I trust that many hearts went up that hour in gratitude to the God of battles.

Many noble sacrifices were laid on the altar in this [110] battle. Generals Bee and Bartow, Col. Egbert Jones, of the 4th Alabama, Col. Johnson, of South Carolina, and a host of other noble patriots, laid down their lives for the cause of the South. A young Georgian of Bartow's brigade said, as he lay dying on this bloody field: “I will go up and make my report to the Almighty as to the Commander-in-Chief of all. I will tell him I have been a faithful soldier and a dutiful son, though an unfaithful servant of God; nevertheless, my fearless trust is in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of men.” Rev. C. W. Howard, who commanded a company in the famous 8th Georgia, here fell a martyr to the cause. He was killed in the grove where the 8th Georgia was first engaged. “He stepped in front of his company, and was in the act of dressing his line, which threw his back to the enemy, when a ball entered his head, rather in the rear, passing through his brain and out near the temple on the opposite side. He fell dead instantly.” And thus hundreds of Christian men gladly yielded up their lives, cheered and sustained by the glorious hope of a better life in heaven.

While this battle was raging the earnest prayers of the Southern people were ascending to God for his protection to our soldiers and his blessing on their arms. A remarkable answer to prayer is recorded in reference to a company from Georgia. “A prayer-meeting was held at Atkinson's church, in Oglethorpe county, in that State, to pray for the safety of the Oglethorpe Rifles, who went from that neighborhood. The prayers were ascending in their behalf while the battle was raging, and they were mingling in the tornado of shells and bullets which mowed the gallant 8th Georgia regiment, of which they composed a part; and yet, of all the companies engaged, this alone showed from the record, ‘none killed.’ ”

Those who recall the prevailing sentiments of our people at this period will recognize the following language [111] of two leading religious journals as expressing their firm trust in God and their deep gratitude for his great mercies:

The Southern people are humble in their joy, and yet are not ashamed of their sorrows over the noble dead. We do not tremble at our loss, though in undisguised grief we weep by the graves of the brave soldiers who fell in the fight. The sacrifices which we have laid on the altar of our country are not the blemished of the flock. The Lord has asked of us the young, the brave, and the lovely; and the fathers and mothers of Israel have brought forth the first born and said, with unwavering faith in God, as the young men went to the field, ‘Let the will of the Lord be done!’ Though ‘we sing the songs of woe, let the right prevail.’ But the grief of noble, Christian suffering is not without its hallowing influence, and ‘behold, we count them happy which endure.’

From the “Old North State,” whose sons nobly bore their part in this battle, came these fervent utterances:

It is with deep emotion that we refer to the news from the seat of war in Virginia. God has favored our cause. The skill of our commanders and the bravery of our soldiers have been crowned with splendid success. Let the nation bow before God in humble acknowledgment of his mercy. Let the hearts of the people be filled with his praise.

But our joy must be mingled with grief. Hundreds, it may be thousands, of our noble soldiers have fallen in these terrible conflicts. The homes left by them so lately are desolate; and the wail of the widow and the orphan is heard through the land. God comfort and sustain them under their sore bereavements. The sympathy and gratitude of their country will never cease to attend them.

Among the gallant men from that State who fell was young Lieutenant Mangum, the only son of his honored [112] father. Fighting in the 6th regiment of North Carolina, he was mortally wounded near the close of the struggle. “When he was dying,” said a friend, “he reposed a beautiful trust in his Saviour and spoke sentences whose echoes would awake the melody of thanksgiving and gladness in the harps of earth and the harps of glory. Between these hallowed utterances he asked a friend, ‘Do you think I have accomplished anything for my country? As I only had my sword instead of a musket, I fear I did but little in the fight.’ Instead of remorse for having defended an unrighteous cause, he only bewailed the conviction that, falling in the first, conflict, he had done so little for a cause that he honestly esteemed worthy of the sacrifice of life itself. It was a matter of high, patriotic principle with him, and he was so just in it as to be unshaken and complacent in the tremendous entrance into the presence of Almighty God.”

The feeling of dependence on God pervaded all classes. When the great victory was announced in the Confederate Congress, a Christian statesman from South Carolina arose in his place and offered the following:

1. Resolved, That we recognize the hand of the Most High God, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, in the glorious victory with which he hath crowned our arms at Manassas, and that the people of these Confederate States are invited by appropriate services on the ensuing Sabbath to offer up their united thanksgiving and praise for the mighty deliverance.

2. Resolved, That, deeply deploring the necessity which has washed the soil of our country with the blood of so many of her noblest sons, we offer to their respective families and friends our warmest and most cordial sympathy, assuring them that the sacrifice made will be concentrated in the hearts of our people, and will there enshrine the names of the gallant dead as the champions of free and constitutional government.

By all the day was felt to be one of “prayer, of praise, [113] of action, of heroism,” and the richest offerings were freely laid on the altars of the South. The desire for liberty had not then yielded to the desire for gain; and the patriotic fervor of the people had not yet felt the benumbing touch of Mammon. Worldly men and Christian men alike acknowledged the hand Divine, and the season was well adapted to the scattering of the “precious seed” of life.

Many incidents of the battle were fraught with solemn lessons, and deep and lasting were the impressions made amidst the ghastly sights of war. Just after the battle a soldier wrote:

I can't realize myself in ‘the pomp and circumstance of war.’ But, great God, what have I seen — the wounded, the dead, and the dying. You can possibly imagine my first feelings, though they were Yankees, when I looked upon them — some shot through the head, some with legs and arms broken, some through the stomach, and, in fact, all over; and to hear their moaning and their groanings, and I thought, ‘Is this war!’

A gentleman from the far South, who came, like scores of others, to look after “the dear boys,” describes the following touching scene:

We were straggling over the battle-field, examining the ground upon which we had such a bloody conflict and won such a glorious victory two days before. We came unexpectedly into the Centreville road, and seeing a house upon our left with the usual signs betokening a hospital, one of our party being a physician, expressed a wish to get down and examine the wounded. Upon inquiry we learned that a stable just below the house contained thirteen wounded Yankees; we forthwith proceeded to the stable, and upon entering found a Washington Artilleryman seated by the side of a wounded soldier, evidently ministering to him with great care and tenderness. I introduced myself to him, and asked if he aided in working the battery which fought with the 1st Virginia brigade. [114] He told me he did not-he had fought in a battery lower down, and then remarked ‘that it was very hard to fight as he had fought, and turn and find his own brother fighting against him,’ at the same time pointing to the wounded soldier from whose side he had just arisen. I asked if it was possible that was his brother. ‘Yes, sir, he is my brother Henry. The same mother bore us-the same mother nursed us. We meet the first time for seven years. I belong to the Washington Artillery, from New Orleans-he to the 1st Minnesota Infantry. By the merest chance I learned he was here wounded, and sought him out to nurse and attend him.’ Thus they met-one from the far North, the other from the extreme South--on a bloody field in Virginia — in a miserable stable, far away from their mother, home, and friends-both wounded — the infantryman by a musket ball in the right shoulder, the artilleryman by the wheel of a caisson over his left hand. Thus they met after an absence of seven years. Their names are Frederick Hubbard, Washington Artillery, and Henry Hubbard, 1st Minnesota Infantry. We met a surgeon of one of the Alabama regiments and related the case to him, and requested, for the sake of the artilleryman, that his brother might be cared for. He immediately examined and dressed his wounds, and sent off in haste for an ambulance to take the wounded ‘ Yankee’ to his own regimental hospital.

Alas! that our country should ever have been visited by a war in which brother was often thus arrayed against brother. Another sad incident of the same kind was related by the Hon. Lewis D. Campbell, of Ohio:

I had two brothers in the war; one in the Confederate army in Texas, and the other in the Union army. They were sons of one who, at the age of seventeen, fought at the battle of Eutaw Springs. One of my brothers, at the head of a regiment of Texans, fell in Louisiana, and the other, at the head of a Union regiment, fell at the battle of Chancellorsville. And the news of [115] the death of both of these-one on the one side and the other-reached their afflicted mother on the same day.

This peculiar horror of civil war a poet has pictured but too truly in the following lines from an English periodical:

Bellum Civile.

“Rifleman, shoot me a fancy shot
Straight at the heart of yon prowling vidette;
Ring me a ball in the glittering spot
That shines on his breast like an amulet!
” “Ay, Captain! here goes for a fine drawn bead,
There's music around when my barrel's in tune!
” Crack! went the rifle, the messenger sped
And dead from his horse fell the ringing dragoon. “Now, rifleman, steal through the bushes and snatch
From your victim some trinket to hansel first blood;
A button, or loop, or that luminous patch
That gleams in the moon like a diamond stud!

“Oh, Captain,” I staggered and sunk in my track,
When I gazed on the face of the fallen vidette;
For he looked so like you, as he lay on his back,
That my heart rose upon me, and masters me yet. “But I snatched off the trinket-this locket of gold,
An inch from the centre my lead broke its way,
Scarce grazing the picture, so fair to behold,
Of a beautiful lady in bridal array.
” “Ha! rifleman, fling me the locket!-'tis she,
My brother's young bride-and the fallen dragoon
Was her husband-Hush! soldier, 'twas heaven's decree;
We must bury him, there, by the light of the moon.
” “But, hark! the bugles their warnings unite;
War is a virtue-weakness a sin;
There's lurking and looping around us to-night;
Load again, rifleman, keep your hand in!

During the autumn of this year (1861) the religious influence among the soldiers gradually increased. The appeals from the army for tracts, books, and for more [116] preachers, were earnest and importunate. Even the secular papers were urged to lend their aid to the work by calling the attention of the Churches to the moral wants of the soldiers.

A soldier wrote from the army to the Richmond Examiner in the following strain:

There are at present in your noble State about three hundred thousand men ‘ armed in the holy cause of liberty.’ These men are far from their homes and the sweet influences which are there brought to bear upon them to restrain them from sin. Many of these men, however, are more serious and solemn, and inclined to seek to know their Saviour, than at any other time. The thoughts of their happy homes and dear friends far away, both in this State and the far sunny South, will often act as a check to any vicious course to which their inclinations may lead them. What I propose, sir, is that you write one of your very powerful articles, urging ministers of the gospel and chaplains in the army to put forth their utmost strength for the conversion of soldiers. What a grand moral spectacle would be presented to the world, of any army being converted? What grandeur would it not lend to our cause? With how much more courage will truly brave men go into danger, when they know that the messenger of death is but God's angel to call them home. And then, when this ‘grand army’ disbands, and the various regiments return to their several States, how much will it tend to unite us more and more in the bonds of unselfish love for the rising and brave generation that will soon turn from the field of strife to the arena of the political world, to go there with hearts full of love to God, and with the highest and most religious sense of honor towards their fellow-men.

Every new regiment that went to the army had some token of the deep concern felt by the “home folks” for its religious welfare. When the 7th regiment of South Carolina was about to leave home for the seat of war, [117] the colored members of the Methodist Church in the town of Aiken presented to the chaplain, Rev. J. M. Carlisle, “a magnificent copy of the Word of God for the use of the regiment.” After reaching Virginia, the chaplain wrote: “Our regiment is doing well. I try to preach on the Sabbath-usually twice. We have also a regimental prayer-meeting every evening at twilight. Upon these services there is usually a good attendance, and a serious attention that is very gratifying. Ask for us the prayers of all.”

Among the troops that were stationed in the vicinity of Leesburg, Va., there was a fine state of religious feeling. In the 17th Mississippi regiment, one of the most gallant in the army, there was a deep concern. Prayer meetings were held in their camp every evening, a number professed conversion, and the good work increased in depth and power. The Christians in the vicinity of the camp were urged to join the soldiers in their meetings. Many did so, and the people learned that the Lord of Hosts was in the midst of their brave defenders.

A true moral courage was requisite, in this early period of the war, for every old believer and every new convert. The camps, it is true, were almost filled with vice; swearing, gambling, and drunkenness, abounded, and one might have supposed that all were leagued against religion; but in the midst of all this many were found earnestly seeking light from God's Holy Word.

That high moral courage that resolves to do right in the very midst of wrong tells powerfully on young men at College, and on soldiers in an army. In that charming book for boys, “Tom Brown at Rugby,” there is a fine illustration of moral courage. A large number of boys slept in the same room, and Tom Brown, though brought up to pray, was afraid to kneel down before his schoolmates, and went to bed every night without prayer. But a timid little fellow came to the school, whom everybody was disposed to call a “milk sop,” and on the very [118] first night, while all others were laughing and talking about him, he fell on his knees devoutly to pray. His bold example soon had many imitators.

“The religious soldiers at a military station in India,” says an English missionary, “greatly enjoyed themselves :it the union prayer-meetings, but none of them at first had courage to kneel down and pray in the presence of their wicked comrades before going to bet. One man told me that he was in the habit of waiting until all the lamps were put out. and then kneeling down in the dark. But after a while, he said, his comrades began to suspect him. So they challenged him one night, and a number gathering round, swore they would not go to bed nor put out the light until he did. He told them he was a praying man, and that he would pray whether they put out the light or not. This, he said, was the signal for a general hurrah, and storm of oaths; and that when he knelt down they kept up a bellowing and mocking, throwing their boots at him, and hitting him with balls of dough, until he had finished. He continued, however, night after night, and at last they ceased to scoff and left him in peace.”

Such scenes were seldom, if ever, witnessed in our armies; but still there were many occasions on which a soldier's religion was put to as severe a test. Scenes like the following are much more interesting to contemplate:

Many a time,

says a pious colporteur, “officers and privates, who make no profession of religion, have gathered around me at night, listened with undisguised pleasure to the reading of God's Word, and joined in the sweet songs of Zion, until the forests rang again with their grateful paeans. I have never once been unkindly turned away by soldiers, but their universal politeness and gratitude have removed any fear of intrusion when I would approach. Parties playing cards have frequently broken off their games, and scattered to read [119] my good tracts, while others engaged in rude jesting or relating wicked anecdotes have thanked me cordially for the interest I took in them, and the good reading I troubled myself to bring them. I have had officers and men to hail me, and run from a distance, to get as many of the silent preachers' as I could spare, pressing me to visit their regiments.”

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