Baptists and the American Civil War: February 10, 1862

Rev. Robert Ryland

Rev. Robert Ryland

Confederate hospitals in and around the national capital city of Richmond are rapidly filling up. Southern Baptists, in recent months focusing on publishing and distributing religious literature among soldiers, see an opportunity to reach hospitalized soldiers in the city. The ladies of Richmond’s First Baptist Church have done their part in this effort, as Richmond’s Daily Dispatch reports today:

The ladies of the First Baptist Church, of this city, having placed in the treasury of the Colportage Board enough to support a colporteur to labor in the hospitals in and around this city, Rev. Robt. Ryland, D. D., has been appointed to the work, and is now prosecuting it with that energy which has ever characterized him in the pulpit, as well as when presiding over the institution of which he has been President for so many years. A better appointment could not have been made, and we feel rejoiced to be able to announce that a gentleman so long and so favorably known has devoted himself to this field. We do not see how the ablest and best clergymen in the South can do more for the war than by devoting themselves to the moral culture of the soldiers.

The industrious Rev. Robert Ryland is a prominent Virginia Baptist. The first president of Richmond College, he is also pastor of the First African Baptist Church, at a time when African Baptist churches of the South, with few exceptions, are under the leadership of white southerners.

Following the war, Ryland serves as a Southern Baptist educator and pastor for several more decades, dying in 1899.

Source: Richmond Daily Dispatch, February 10, 1862 (link); biographical sketch of Robert Ryland and photo (link)