Baptists and the American Civil War: May 16, 1862

Jefferson DavisBy proclamation of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, many Baptists and other Christians today (a Friday) gather in their houses of worship to offer special prayer for the Confederacy, a nation now reeling from Union advances in Virginia and the deep South. Davis’s proclamation is as follows:

To the People of the Confederate States of America:

an enemy, waging war in a manner violative of the usage of civilized nations, has invaded our country. With presumptuous reliance on superior numbers, he has declared his purpose to reduce us to submission. We struggle to preserve our birthright of constitutional freedom. Our trust is in the justice of our cause and the protection of our God.

Recent disaster has spread gloom over the land, and sorrow sits at the hearthstones of our countrymen; but a people conscious of rectitude and faithfully relying on their Father in heaven, may be cast down, but cannot be dismayed. They may mourn the loss of the martyrs whose lives have been sacrificed in their defence, but they receive this dispensation of Divine Providence with humble submission and reverent faith. And now that our hosts are. again going forth to battle, and loving hearts at home are filled with anxious solicitude for their safety, it is meet that the whole people should turn imploringly to their Almighty Father and beseech his all-powerful protection.

To this end, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the confederate States of America, do issue my proclamation, inviting all the people to unite at their several places of worship, on Friday, the sixteenth day of the present month of May, in humble supplication to Almighty God that he will vouchsafe his blessings on our beloved country; that he will strengthen and protect our armies; that he will watch over and protect our people from the machinations of their enemies; and that he will, in his own good time, restore to us the blessing of peace and security under his sheltering care.

Source: Frank Moore, Editor, Rebellion Record: a Diary of American Events: Documents and Narratives, Volume 5, Document 39, “Fast-day in the Rebel States” (link)