Baptists and the American Civil War: December 2, 1862

As the year 1862 draws to a close, A. E. Dickinson, army missionary and colporteur from Virginia, is singing the praises of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. The general is much appreciated by Southern Baptists for his personal piety and his support of Baptist army mission efforts, both of which seem to be rubbing off on Jackson’s officers. Indeed, Dickinson has recently received a contribution from one of the general’s officers, accompanied by a note:

Gen. Jackson’s men have claims upon the whole South. His veterans bare their breasts to the invader at every turn. Ought we not to have good, earnest men to go in and out before us. Oh, tell the parents and friends of the soldier everywhere throughout the South, they cannot do better than to carry on this noble work of Army Colportage and to supplicate God’s blessings upon such labors.

Gen. Jackson and his officers have come to realize the powerful influence of religion upon their soldiers. Faith in God provides both comfort and courage to the young men on the front lines of the great conflict, elevating character and steeling soldiers for the task of killing. “Earnest men” (army missionaries) who visit the camps reinforce the sacred nature of the Southern cause and the sacrifice thereof required by the individual soldier. Thus, mutual admiration and a a common cause characterize the relationship between Stonewall Jackson and many Southern Baptist leaders.

Source: A. E. Dickinson, “Jackson’s Captains,” Biblical Recorder, December 3, 1862 (link)