Sunday, November 16, 2008

Onward Christian Soldiers

Religion offered hope and solace to the retreating Army of Tennessee.

“Half clad, half armed, often half fed, without money and without price, the Confederate soldier fought against the resources of the world.” [i]

During the fall and winter of 1862-63 Confederates attended daily prayer meetings, revivals, and worship services.[ii]

Religion was the greatest weapon of the otherwise disadvantaged South, providing the will to fight even against impossible odds.[iii]

“Modern history presents no example of armies so nearly converted into churches as the armies of Southern defense. On the crest of this flood of war, which threatens to engulf our freedom, rides a pure Christianity; the Gospel of the grace of God shines through the smoke of battle with the light that leads to heaven; and the camp becomes a school for Christ.”

~ Rev. A. E. Dickinson

The conversions were often dramatic. Even the daring and notoriously reckless John Hunt Morgan turned to Christianity and bible study after his 1862 marriage to Mattie Ready.[iv] Morgan frequently wrote tender letters reassuring his young wife:

“I must close tonight….It is getting late and my candle is quite low. Shall read two chapters in my Prayer Book you gave me… and in bidding you goodnight send you a heart full of love….”[v]


[i] Baskett, G. H. The Confederate Veteran, Vol. I, No. 12, Nashville, Tenn., December 1893.
[ii] Brooks, Gene. “Revivals in the Confederate Armies” 1996.
[iii] Romero, Sidney J. “Religion in the Rebel Ranks,” 1983.
[iv] Jones, Shirley Farris. “ Mattie Ready Morgan: The Hardships of War,” December 31, 2007 The Murfreesboro Post
[v] Ramage, James A. “Rebel Raider: Chap 14, p. 160.

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