Baptists and the American Civil War: January 14, 1865

Capture of Fort Fisher/ J.O. Davidson

Capture of Fort Fisher/ J.O. Davidson

The Second Battle of Fort Fisher, North Carolina, rages for a second day. Having landed on a nearby beach yesterday, the Federals now reinforce their position while Union naval ships bombard the northern battlement of the fort. More federal troops are prepared to come ashore on the morrow.

Meanwhile, Sherman’s armies are now spread throughout the larger Savannah area, including nearby Beaufort, South Carolina. The Union general is in the midst of preparations for an eventual assault on Columbia and Charleston.

The Beaufort District is the headquarters of the largest Union effort to house and educate freedmen, many, perhaps most, of whom are Baptists.

Northward, Rev. J. W. Parker, having served for nearly ten years as the secretary of the Northern Baptist Education Society and, concurrently, the past five years as pastor of the Shawmut Baptist Church of Boston, today resigns the latter position.

Working with the NBES in the days and years ahead, Parker is tasked with establishing schools for the training of “colored men” as preachers. and young men and women as teachers. This he does for some five years, organizing many schools in the coastal states of the South.

Thereafter resigning due to ill health, Parker, after a period of rest, accepts the pastorate of Washington D.C.’s Calvary Baptist Church, and later that of the E. Street Baptist Church.

Rev. J. W. Parker is one of many Northern Baptist ministers who leave their homes to minister among freedmen in the latter half of the war and the years immediately following the war.

Sources: Second Battle of Fort Fisher (link); “Fort Fisher: Engagement Chronology,” North Carolina Historic Sites (link); Parker, J. W., D. D., in in William Cathcart, The Baptist Encyclopedia, Vol 2., Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1883, p. 883 (link); image (link)