Baptists and the American Civil War: March 31, 1863

Confederate CampTouring Confederate camps in Virginia, former Georgia Baptist Christian Index editor Joseph Walker offers his observations regarding revival among the soldiers, as related in this week’s Index. “The influence of Christianity in the army has been marked,” Walker summarizes, “and it still pervades large masses of the Confederate troops in different localities from Petersburg to Fredericksburg.”

Following descriptions of a few baptismal services, the former newspaper editor offers his commentary on the war at large.

War! bloody, terrible war! when will it end? O, when shall the sons, and brothers, and husbands, and fathers, return home again?–Some of them–alas! many of them, never. Never, oh! what a word! How it writhes the heart! How it thrills the soul and pervades the nervous system! Yet, it is a true word. A word which many a heart-stricken mother, widow, and sister must realize with aching eyes and scalding tears. I have myself buried over 5000 soldiers, many of them young men from Georgia and Alabama, on whose noble brows I have often looked both at home and in the army. There are, however, consolations also. Their blood–their murdered bodies are the price of our independence. Nothing less than such blood could release us from our cruel, heartless foe. Besides, God is moving on the hearts of our soldiers. Many of our Rulers, and our Generals are God-fearing men, and if the people confess their sins and trust in Jesus, we must succeed, and peace and prosperity will crown the land.

Source: Joseph Walker, “Baptisms in the Army,” Christian Index, March 30, 1863