Today’s North Carolina Biblical Recorder reprints an article from the Richmond Dispatch that speaks to the spiritual needs of Confederate soldiers.
Our soldiers are, for the most part, reading men. From childhood they have been accustomed to read papers, magazines, and books. Far from home, on the tented field, with so many leisure hours in every day it is not strange that they should be so eager for reading matter. Seeing so many of their comrades falling a prey to camp disease and to the dangers, physical and spiritual, incident to a soldier’s life, it is not strange that so many are anxious to secure such reading matter as may make them all “wise unto salvation.” Many regiments are destitute of the services of chaplains, and are wholly dependent upon the printed page for religious instruction. Now that they are going into winter quarters there is an especial need for larger numbers of tracts and books. Probably for centuries such a field for Christian enterprise will not be opened to Southern Christians as is now presented by the half million of brave men congregated together for the defence of our homes and altars. This colportage work seems to us to be exactly the idea for these times. Men are too much excited to sit down and listen attentively to a formal discourse. They need to be visited in their tents, to have that greatest of all human power, social intercourse, brought to bear upon them, and then with an earnest, eloquent, soul-moving tract placed in their hands they cannot help being influenced for good. We are informed that the Society in this city are publishing one million of pages to be equally divided between the soldiers at Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, and New Orleans.
Source: “Literature for the Soldiers,” Biblical Recorder, January 15, 1862 (link)