Baptists and the American Civil War: January 7, 1865

Civil War States MapToday in the far West a clash between Indians and U.S. soldiers takes place. In the Battle of Julesburg some 1,000 Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Lakota Indians, seeking revenge for the Sand Creek Massacre less than two months earlier, defeat a small contingent of 60 soldiers and 50 civilians. In the weeks following, the victorious Indians raid outlying ranches and stagecoach stations.

While Indians do not welcome the presence of U.S. troops, black slaves certainly do. Many slaves escaping behind Union lines, past and present, are Baptists. In the wake of a Baptist slave’s flight to freedom, the white-led church of which he or she is a member almost inevitably excludes the former slave from membership. Today the East Fork Baptist Church in Mississippi’s Amite County excludes yet another runaway slave from membership: “Little Perry, a colored member belonging to Brother and Sister Spurlock was excluded for going off with our enemies.”

Sources: Battle of Julesburg (link); Sand Creek Massacre (link) and (link); Dale Edwyna Smith, The Slaves of Liberty: Freedom in Amite County, Mississippi, 1820-1868, Routledge, 2013, pp. 130-131 (link)