Baptists and the American Civil War: January 26, 1862

33rd New York Infantry

33rd New York Infantry

Caroline Cowles Richards, a young lady living in Canadaigua, New York, has been maintaining a diary for ten years. Today she makes note of a significant day in the life of the First Baptist Church of her village:

… went to the Baptist Church this evening to hear Rev. A. H. Lung preach his last sermon before going into the army.

The village of Canadaigua was founded in 1791 upon the site of the central village of the Seneca Native American peoples. Later, Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas, Abraham Lincoln’s Democratic opponent for the U.S. presidential nomination in 1860, now deceased, attended Canandaigua Academy.

The First Baptist congregation, founded in 1833, has a history of short pastoral tenures. Augustus H. Lung, assuming the pastorate in 1858, is the longest serving pastor in the church’s history. As is not unusual for the Baptist pastor of a small town, Lung, in addition to his pastoral duties, has officiated the marriages of many of the village’s citizens. Lung also taught in the public schools of Canadaigua.

Lung’s patriotism for the Union cause reflects the feelings of many of his church members. First Baptist formally retains him as their pastor while he serves as a chaplain in the 33th New York Infantry, utilizing a supply preacher during this time.

Sources: Caroline Cowles Richards, Village life in America, 1852-1872. New York: Henry Holt, 1913, p. 138 (link); about Canadaigua (link); Lewis Cass Aldrich, History of Ontario County, New York. Syracuse: D.C. Mason, 1893, pp.233-234 (link); Marriage and Death Notices, Ontario County, New York (link); Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, Volume 6 (link); photo (link)