Baptists and the American Civil War: August 3, 1864

confederate_mapU.S. President Abraham Lincoln imposes himself upon General Ulysses S. Grant less than his other generals. Nonetheless, in the midst of Northern frustrations with drawn-out trench warfare at Petersburg, last month’s rather close call in the form of the failed Confederate raid upon Washington, D.C. does expose some friction between the two men, who had been in disagreement over the defense of the capital city.

Today the president telegrams his general to remind him to be diligent “every day, every hour,” and to be aggressive in order to achieve results in the war against the rebellious states.

Results. That is what the Northern public expect, and that is what Lincoln needs to assure his re-election in November.

Meanwhile, in the Confederacy results of another kind are taking place, of which a glimpse is gleaned in a letter penned this month by a Baptist missionary.

Dear Bro. Hufham:–As christians are always glad to learn that the number of believers is being increased, I write a short letter for the Recorder, from which you will learn that the church at Beaver Island has recently enjoyed a precious revival. I commenced a meeting at the above named church on Saturday before the fourth Sabbath in July, which continued six days.–Believers were strengthened and encouraged, many penitents crowded and the anxious seat, sixteen of whom professed faith in Christ. And it was my happy privilege to baptize thirteen of them at the close of the meeting. I was assisted during the meeting by Elders Daniel Taylor, A. H. Barnes, and R. D. Haymore, all of whom preached the word with energy and faithfulness.

Also at Mayfield church on the second Sabbath in July I baptized nine persons, six of whom were from the Methodist society; and at Providence on the 17th of July I baptized four, one of whom had formerly been a Methodist. For these manifestations of God’s goodness may His name be praised. I am now engaged in a protracted meeting at Hogan’s Creek, assisted by Elders G. W. Griffin and E. Dobson. May the Lord bless our labors.

F. H. Jones
Missionary for the Beulah Association

While Rev. Jones rejoices over baptisms, a short piece in the Biblical Recorder this month offers a Baptist perspective over Yankees and wine.

A lady, of Caroline county, Va, in a letter to the Richmond Sentinel, detailing the outrages of the enemy in her neighborhood, says: “At Mrs.______’s, they found the wine used for the church. She told them what it was, and begged them to spare it; but they laughed, and called for others to “come and drink the blood of Christ.”

Concern over the symbolic blood of Christ often seems to be a greater concern than spilling the very real blood of one’s enemies, including fellow Baptists.

Sources: “August 3, 1864, Lincoln to Grant,” Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails (link); Letter from F. H. Jones, Biblical Recorder, August 10, 1864 (link)