Baptists and the American Civil War: September 13, 1862

Early Log Church by Julie DuncanThe war routinely causes confusion in Baptist congregations located in areas of the South where battles take place or where the United States army is otherwise present. Services are frequently disrupted, sometimes for months or years on end, as the war rages on.

Today is a day of discord for the New Garden Baptist Church, a Virginia Primitive Baptist congregation affiliated with Virginia’s Washington Association. The church’s clerk tersely summarizes the situation:

On Sunday on account of the report of the enemy coming into the Country, and the confusion of the congregation, there was no minute kept by the clerk of the preaching.

The confusion is apparently even greater than this note indicates: he identifies today as a Sunday, when in fact it is a Saturday — Saturdays being the day that, on a monthly basis, many Baptist churches of the South meet for business meetings and preachings. Whether Saturday or Sunday, the meeting of the New Garden Baptist congregation is far from normal.

Source: Elihu Jasper Sutherland, History of the Washington District Regular Primitive Baptist Association 1811- 1951 (link)