Baptists and the American Civil War: September 23, 1862

Civil War States MapYesterday’s announcement of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation by United States President Abraham Lincoln cheers many Baptists of the North, and re-energizes Northern Baptist commitment to the Union cause of freedom for all.

Among today’s new soldier enlistments is that of eighteen year-old George W. Rogers of New York. Rogers is a Primitive Baptist, the same faith that Lincoln was raised in. Mustering into service in New York as a private in Company B of the 9th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Rogers signs up for a three year stint.

Enthusiastic and with good intentions, Rogers nonetheless gets off on the wrong foot in a rather unusual way. “When he first came to camp in 1862 he accidentally started a fire that destroyed several individuals Tents.” Yet this inauspicious start, embarrassing that it is, does not hinder Rogers from distinguishing himself as a soldier in the coming years.

On May 6, 1863, Rogers is transferred to Company H of the 3rd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. In the months afterward, he is promoted to First Sergeant (date uncertain) and to First Lieutenant of Company A (effective August 22nd, 1864). Serving through the duration of the war, Rogers is discharged on June 10th, 1865, at Elmira, New York.

George Rogers’ serves with his brother, William J. Rogers.

Source: “Company B, 9th New York Volunteers, Hawkins Zouaves” (link)