Baptists and the American Civil War: January 13, 1862

Confederate Camp, 5th Georgia

Confederate Camp, 5th Georgia

The Domestic Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention meets today to address war-time mission strategies. Indian missions, previously the main thrust of domestic mission efforts, has faltered because of the war. A new emphasis is needed, and a committee appointed to investigate mission work among Confederate soldiers Board thus suggests Southern Baptists seek a new direction:

It is known that the system of chaplaincy prevailing in the army can not reach the spiritual wants of the soldier. Many regiments scarcely ever hear the gospel preached, and thousands of sick in the hospitals are without the consolations of religion. Every motive to fidelity to our obligations as a Board urge us to see that these wants are met…

Resolved, That in view of the spiritual wants of the soldiers now in the service of the Confederate Government, this Board appoint as many missionaries to labor for their spiritual good as the funds in the treasury shall justify, and the necessities of the case may demand.

Resolved, That an earnest appeal be made to the friends of religion throughout the South to contribute the means necessary to carry out this important work; and, that the Corresponding Secretary of the Board be requested to give his special attention to the execution of this design.

The report is favorably received, and in the coming months and years the Domestic Mission board of Southern Baptists focuses on army missions in tandem with state Baptist conventions and regional Baptist associations of the South.

Source: Minutes of the Domestic Mission Board as reprinted in “To the Friends of the Soldiers in the Confederate States,” Biblical Recorder, February 5, 1862 (link); image (link)