Baptists and the American Civil War: January 5, 1861

First Baptist Church, Nashville, TN

Shortly after the new year begins, the white First Baptist Church of Nashville, Tennessee establishes a “Second Colored Baptist Mission” in Edgefield (on Fatherland Street), East Nashville.

Directed by a white committee and George Dardis, a free black preacher, the Second slave congregation is co-sponsored by Nelson G. Merry, the free black pastor of the First Colored Baptist Mission (a congregation that yet exists today as the First Baptist Church of Capitol Hill), a church earlier established by the white congregation.

The mission church did not last long, however, as the white First Baptist Church shuttered the Second colored church in June 1861, immediately following Tennessee’s secession from the United States of America. (source)

As to the white First Baptist Church, “the Civil War created special problems. First Baptist Nashville supplied more than one hundred soldiers for the Confederacy. The Union Army seized the church’s building, used it for more than two years, part of the time as a hospital, and wrecked the interior. Church finances suffered during the Civil War and Reconstruction.” (source)