Baptists and the American Civil War: February 3, 1863

North Carolina MapIn the midst of a war pitting two opposing views of God, the Bible and Christianity against one another, journalist Samuel Clemens in Nevada adopts the pen name of Mark Twain. Following the war, Twain gains fame as a humorist. He also becomes known as a satirist and critic of Christianity and the Bible. While neither the first nor the last to poke fun at the discrepancies within Christendom, he does so with unmatched wit.

During the war, Baptist newspaper editors of the South cast about for amusing stories that make Northerners–whether soldiers, civilians or Baptists–look inferior, incompetent or silly. This week, J. D. Hufham, editor of North Carolina’s Biblical Recorder, publishes just such a story, penned by a pseudonymous author, that serves as a bit of comic relief in the midst of otherwise somber war news.

During the recent Yankee raid on the Wilmington and Weldon Rail Road, as a party of the enemy were passing the residence of Benjamin Oliver, about four miles from Mount Olive, one of them rode up and carried off a valuable young horse belonging to Mr. O. Of course it was thought that he was gone forever, and much regret was felt on account of his loss, but more for his having fallen into such hands. Next morning, however, not having the fear of Foster before his eyes, and retaining a fondness for his master’s crib, he ran the blockade and came home, bringing a valuable assorted cargo, consisting of a saddle and bridle, three blankets, a bowie knife, and other contraband items, valued at $75.

This loyal steed deserves, as he will doubtlessly receive, the kindest treatment at the hands of his master.

While Samuel Clemens, now known as Mark Twain, is on his way to becoming one of the literary giants of American history, war-time Southern Baptist newspapers throughout the war garner chuckles from readers by periodically interjecting amusing stories that poke fun at the dreaded Yankees.

Sources: Mark Twain, “Letter from Carson City,” Territorial Enterprise, February 3, 1863 (link); D., “A Horse that Wouldn’t Stay With the Yankees,” Biblical Recorder, February 4, 1863 (link)