Baptists and the American Civil War: April 28, 1863


Looking out over Winchester, Virginia and surrounding countryside

Spring has arrived in the South, ushering in new worries that there will not be enough food crops this year to feed the citizens of the Confederacy. A Southern Baptist pastor this week offers advice to poor Confederate families who are facing lean times.

I am persuaded every church ought to take care of its own poor. It is no excuse for the church to pay the county for the poor. They ought to do this and take care of their own likewise.

The wives and children of our soldiers deserve our particular regard. Our counties aid them, but all their neighbors who have horses should plow their little patches.–Every thing under the ground brings a good interest. Little acts of kindness do not injure the donor but will benefit the donee very much.

They should not only plow their ground but they should send their grain to mill.–Selfishness destroys so much happiness. The most rigid economy should be observed by the poor. A half bushel of yam potatoes placed in a hot bed will plant more than two bushels in another way. Every pea, cimbling, cabbage, pumpkin, potatoe and every other vegetable should be planted.–Irish potatoes should be planted abundantly in the garden and in the rich parts of cornfields. As to leather much might be saved by capping and half soling: for one set of quarters will out last two sets of vamps. Much is lost every year by not attending to this fact. Men of property ought to tell the poor people how to manage as the country owes so much to the patriotism of the soldiers.

E. Dodson

Sources: E. Dodson, “The Poor,” Biblical Recorder, April 29, 1863 (link); image, Library of Congress (link)