Baptists and the American Civil War: March 16, 1861

From the Richmond (VA) Times Dispatch, March 16, 1861 (“Up Again”):

The secession flag raised recently by the young ladies of the Baptist Female Institute, and which was taken down by the Professor in charge, was again set up yesterday by the determined young Misses, who seem resolved to show their position on the question of Southern Rights.

Founded in 1854, the Baptist Female Institute (also known as the Richmond Female Institute) remained open in the early months of the Civil War, but by 1862 is used as a hospital for Confederate soldiers. The school was merged with Baptists’ University of Richmond in 1914.

In 1861, a number of Baptist schools for girls existed North and South. Most were in effect finishing schools that taught young women how to be good housewives. The Civil War quickly resulted in large numbers of wounded soldiers and strained existing hospital facilities.  In response, some women’s institutions were transformed into training facilities for nurses and/or hospitals.

Meanwhile in Texas, the final showdown between governor Sam Houston, a Unionist and a Baptist, takes place. Secession zealots assemble in Austin in what some would later refer to as a “rump convention,” and demand that Houston pledge an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the Confederate government. Houston refuses, and the delegates depose him in what some historians contend was an unconstitutional manner.

Sources: Richmond Baptist Female Institute (link), used as hospital (link); illustration of 1861 Richmond (link); Sam Houston’s demise (link)