Baptists and the American Civil War: November 11, 1865



The war decimated Baptists’ Wake Forest College in North Carolina. Recent months have been “gloomy,” the buildings are damaged, “utter impoverishment” is seemingly everywhere. Trustees in their summer meeting decided not to restart college classes.

Today, however, nine of the trustees reconvene. Voicing optimism in the face of financial difficulties, they vote to resume classes on January 15, 1866. Structural repairs are yet needed, money is tight, and the college’s professors and administrators are not entirely behind the decision to reopen.

Few students attend classes in 1866. Wake Forest abandons designations of “freshman,” “sophomore,” “junior” and “senior” and instead lets students take whatever classes for which they are prepared and desirous of. “Departments” of the college are pared to four: Languages, Mathematics, National Science and Belles Lettres (English, History, Logic, Rhetoric, Philosophy, Political Economy, Christianity).

This streamlined approach helps the college weather the difficult years of Reconstruction.

Sources: George Washington Paschal, History of Wake Forest College, Vol. 2, 1865-1905, Wake Forest College, 1943, pp. 6-10 (link); image, (link)