Baptists and the American Civil War: May 18, 1861

Hampden (Virginia) Artillery, Gettysburg MarkerThe Richmond Dispatch reports:

Hampden Artillery. – The members of this company were mustered into service last Saturday, and are now stationed at the Baptist College. The post is now in charge of Major Pegram, who is commandant. The Hampden Artillery is officered as follows: Lawrence S. Marye, Captain; Dr. David S. Watson, 1st Lieut.; Jas. Pleasants and A. P. Courtney, 2d Lieuts. The company numbers seventy-four men, are uniformed in grey cloth, and are armed with four brass six-pounders. Good service may be expected of them.

The Hampden Artillery later fights at Gettysburg in 1863.

While the Civil War alters and disrupts much of Baptist life, for some Baptists church life continues as usual on this Saturday. Many if not most Baptist churches conduct business one Saturday of the month.

Elder Stephen Coonrod, a long-time Regular Baptist preacher, pioneer and a former Justice of the Peace – and now 63 years old – today helps establish yet another church, Otter Creek Church of Macoupin County, Illinois.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania another new Baptist church is birthed:

At the regular meeting of the Pleasant Grove Regular Baptist Church, the following request signed by 60 members was presented. ” We undersigned members of The Pleasant Grove Regular Baptist Church, Washington County, PA., respectfully request of said church a letter of dismission with the view of constituting an independant church at Buffalo Town”.

Even within the Confederacy, for many Baptists church life continues relatively uninterrupted – at least for now. In Spartanburg County, South Carolina, the Unity Baptist Church responds to families in need:

The Committee on destitution report Six families destitute of the Bible. Bro. Davis was appointed to procure a copy for each family (worth fifty cents)

Source:  Dispatch article (link); Hampden Artillery details and photo at Gettysburg (link); Coonrod bio (link); Pleasant Grove Church minutes (link); Unity Baptist Church (link)