Baptists and the American Civil War: December 18, 1861

Civil War Hospital

Civil War Hospital

A report of conditions in army hospitals is making the rounds in Southern Baptist newspapers. Originally appearing in the Mississippi Baptist paper, the war commentary, like so many other war-related articles that are printed in a given Baptist periodical of the South, is shared with other Baptist readers throughout the Confederacy.

Religious comfort and instruction the hospitals still need. This, in the way of small tracts, suited to the sick and the wounded, would be most welcome and useful, I think. It is supplied, it is true, to a small extent only by Christian nurses, and christian visitors. I found our Bro. D. S. Snodgrass, Chaplain to the 21st Miss. Regiment, giving some of his time to this good work. Eld. Thomas, pastor of the Baptist church at Warrenton, I saw doing the same. Others I learned were doing the same also when they had opportunity. But the demand is not half supplied. Many never hear a consoling word, never hear the sweet name of Jesus repeated to them, and some, too, who there breathe their last. Let any christian enter those abodes of our suffering soldiers, and his pity will be aroused, if it never was before. Christians of the South, here is a field where your sympathy can never do too much.

This anonymous plea for spiritual help among southern soldiers will be repeated, among Baptists, hundreds if not thousands of times in the coming years. The need, seeming so urgent at this time, will grow immensely greater as the scope of battles increase and the numbers of wounded escalate.

Source: “Spiritual Destitution in the Army Hospital,” Biblical Recorder, December 18, 1861 (link)