Baptists and the American Civil War: July 23, 1863

Texas Civil War MapWeatherford, Texas is experiencing a multi-denominational Christian revival, as reported in the Galveston Weekly News.

Ed. News.—It may be interesting to some of your numerous readers to hear of a protracted meeting that is going on here.  It has now been in progress for 27 days and nights, and when it will stop time can only tell.  Up to yesterday morning there had been fifty professions:  fifty-four joined the Methodist Church, eleven the Missionary Baptist, four the Cumberland Presbyterians, and two the Campbellites, and forty penitent mourners still at the anxious seat.  The meeting was commenced on Friday evening, the 24th of June, for a Methodist quarterly meeting, and protracted.  July the 4th and 5th was the time for the Missionary Baptist monthly meeting.  They took Saturday and Sunday, and held a union meeting with the Methodists, there being but one meeting house for all, and it the Courthouse.  They harmonized for two or three days.  The Baptists considered they were insulted and imposed on, and began to slack off.  On the 13th, the last Baptist minister left them.  They continued on till the 18th and 19th, which were the Campbellites’ days, and a Cumberland Presbyterian minister came, the Campbellites giving way to him.  On Saturday and Saturday night, the Campbellites took the pulpit, also on Sunday at 11 A. M., and 3 P. M., and at candle lighting.  The Methodists and Campbellites withdrew themselves and held a union meeting at the same hours in a large school house, about 300 yards distant.  On Monday morning the Campbellites adjourned sine die.  The Methodists and Campbellites then took the Courthouse together, many of the Baptist brethren still in attendance.  When they will close, time can only tell.

In the South, from now through September is annual revival season for Baptists. This year, however, the gloom and despair settling over the Confederacy appears to intensify the fervency that accompanies home front revivals as well as revivals within Confederate army camps.

Meanwhile, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia, severely depleted from the Battle of Gettysburg, are back on home soil, albeit harassed by Union forces. Today an inconclusive skirmish between the armies, the Battle of Manassas Gap, takes place.

Lee and his army are safe, but the future of the Confederacy is in doubt.

Source: David Mitchell, “A Protracted Meeting, Weatherford, Texas, July 23, 1863,” Galveston Weekly News, August 5, 1863 (link); Battle of Manassas Gap (link)