Baptists and the American Civil War: August 8, 1864


Confederate artillery overlooking Peachtree Street

Today in Alabama’s Mobile Bay, the Confederacy’s Fort Gaines surrenders. The Stars and Stripes are raised, and the United States formally assumes control of the bay.

Northward in the battle for Atlanta, a Confederate Baptist layman is captured by Union forces, for the second time.

Walter Noel Leake (1844-1920), born in Kentucky, as a child moved with his parents to Jack County, Texas. The son of a Texas Baptist preacher, Leake joined many other Texans in enlisting in the Confederacy in 1861. Leake’s service was with the 9th Texas Cavalry.

Captured by the enemy in Tennessee in October 1862, Leake was paroled soon thereafter, although he did not report for duty with the Confederate Army for the remainder of the year.

This summer Leake has been serving as a Confederate scout during the Atlanta Campaign. Today near Canton, Georgia the Confederate soldier is captured by the Union for a second time. Transferred to a Union prison at Louisville, Kentucky, Leake arrives there on August 15, only to be transferred to Camp Chase, Ohio, the following day. Near the end of the war, on March 18, 1865, he is again transferred, this time to Point Lookout, Maryland.

Taking part in a prisoner exchange at Boulware’s Wharf, Maryland, on March 27, 1865, Leake, rather than returning to Confederate service, remains in the North, enlisting in the United States Army at Camp Chase on April 22, 1865.

Leake’s service in the U.S. Army appears to be short, and he returns to Texas afterwards. Enrolling in Baylor University, the veteran follows his father’s footsteps in becoming a Baptist minister. During the postwar years Leake, like many other Baptists who fought for the Confederacy, enrolls in a local chapter of United Confederate Veterans.

Leake marries Elizabeth Jane Rogers, raise a family, and pastors several churches prior to this death in 1920.

Sources: “Siege of Fort Gaines” (link); Michael Patterson, “Civil War Veterans of Northeast Tarrant County: Walter Noel Leake” (link); image (link)