While North Carolina home front Baptists worry about the spiritually-dead Confederate army, some of the state’s Baptist soldiers write public letters voicing appreciation of the support of home front Baptists. Nonetheless, religion is often not a subject voiced within such letters, even when addressed to religious periodicals.
Such is the case of a letter on behalf of the Wilkes (County) Valley Guards, attached to the Army of the Potomac and currently encamped at Stafford County, Virginia, for the winter. This week’s Biblical Recorder, the news publication of North Carolina Baptists, publishes a letter addressed to the newspaper, from Wilkes Country soldiers, penned mere days ago.
Through the kindness and special respect of a large number of the citizens and friends of Wilkes County, we, the Wilkes Valley Guards, have, from time to time during our absence from home, and in the service of our country, received numerous articles of clothing, together with some excellent articles of provision, such as potatoes, hams, apples, (dried and green) butter, cakes, &c, for all of which we feel it a special duty incumbent upon us, as we cannot return anything of adequate value, to return our thanks and humble acknowledgments to those generous hearted and patriotic friends for their liberal and voluntary donations, and especially to the ladies of Wilkes, who have done so much for us, and who appear so willing to aid in anything for the good and comfort of the soldiers.
We hope that we will not be censured for saying that the reception of these articles has inspired us with fresh love and sympathy for those friends at home, new patriotism for our country, and fresher and more vigorous courage to defend them, their home, their rights, and sacred honors. And besides, these are not only acceptable as necessary articles but are much more acceptable, because they are, many of them, from “home.”
We will therefore make the best use of them possible, and endeavor, to show to them by our deeds and valor that we are not entirely forgetful of those favors.
While joyful to hear this report from their soldiers, some Baptist readers read this letter and wonder of the spiritual condition of the men who are fighting on their behalf.
Source: Biblical Recorder, November 27, 1861 (link)