Baptists and the American Civil War: May 6, 1862

Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

This week, the editor of North Carolina’s Biblical Recorder assesses the perilous times at hand, referencing McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign.

No one can deny that the present is a momentous period in the history of the South. The theatre of war has been narrowing down for some time past; the grand armies which, for the present, are to decide the fate of the eastern and western sections of our country are face to face and we may hear of great events at any moment.

The fate of Virginia is trembling in the balance. Richmond is threatened in the rear by McClelland; in front, by Banks and McDowell. Opposed to the former we have Johnston and Magruder; to the latter Jackson and Ewell. If they can maintain their positions and drive back the enemy Virginia is safe, for the present at least. If Richmond falls, Norfolk and Portsmouth go with it, and North Carolina, for the time, becomes the battle-field. We have our notions as to the results of of the contest in Virginia, but decisive events are so near at hand, that it would be useless to express them.

The gallant Breauregard is still confronting Buell at Cornith, and everything indicates a speedy and bloody conflict at that point. Whatever human skill can do, to secure victory for ourselves and defeat and ruin for our enemies, will be done. We have strong hopes that the victor in four great battles will be successful again and that the portion of the Mississippi valley which is left to us, will thus be secured.

Upon these two armies, depends the fate of a large portion of the Confederacy. If they are defeated, it will be necessary to fall back, and much of our territory will be overrun and ravaged by the enemy, and the war will be indefinitely prolonged. If they are successful, the enemy can not advance further, and we may hope that the war will be greatly shortened.

As freemen and patriots it becomes us to be prepared for the worst. As christians, believing in a God, who directs every event, and who hears the prayers of his people, we should earnestly implore his blessings on our armies and our country in this time of peril. There has been no period in the past history of our country, so fraught with danger, as the present. Let us be equal to the crisis. Let us pray for and expect victory, but if it should be the will of God that we be farther tried in the bitter school of disaster and defeat, let us be prepared.

Source: “A Solemn Season,” Biblical Recorder, May 7, 1862 (link)