Baptists and the American Civil War: August 14, 1865

Civil War States MapChurches in the South often suffered during the recently-ended Civil War, many closing their doors during the war, in some instances never to open again.

Few Baptist churches in the North were so drastically impacted by the war. In the case of abandoned meeting houses, the more typical scenario is that of a congregation moving into a new building.

Today in Wareham, Massachusetts the town’s yet-fledgling Catholic community benefits from Baptist transitions by purchasing an abandoned Baptist meeting house at a cost of $3,000. In 1871 they enlarge and redecorate the building, which remains in use by St. Patrick;s Parish in the 21st century.

Meanwhile in Mississippi, home to many Baptist churches disrupted by the war, the state’s first post-war constitutional convention assembles in Jackson for the purpose of revoking and repealing the 1861 secession ordinance and abolishing slavery.

Undoing secession and abolishing slavery, however, merely serves to steel the resolve of many white Mississippians who have no intention of allowing black citizens to exercise their new-found freedom in any manner that implies equality with whites.

Sources: “Our History,” St. Patrick’s Wareham (link); E. G. Wall, Handbook of the State of Mississippi, Jackson, Miss: Clarion Steam, p. 4 (link); David G. Sansing, “Flags Over Mississippi,” Mississippi History Now, Mississippi Historical Society (link)