Baptists and the American Civil War: December 18, 1864

Georgia MapWith the Confederates declaring their refusal to surrender Savannah to Sherman, the Union General begins preparations to take the city.

Numerical manpower and firepower are on Sherman’s side, a fact recognized by the Confederacy. More soldiers are desperately needed in the defense of the city, but none are forthcoming. The armies of the South, decimated by desertions and battlefield defeats, are stretched too thin.

Meanwhile, from the neighboring state of South Carolina the Confederate Baptist newspaper is concerned about Bible studies in the army.

Among the lads, who have recently been brought into military service, and sent away from home, there are doubtless many, who were members of Sunday Schools, and engaged in the study of the Scriptures, in Bible classes. Will not some of the older soldiers continue the work of religious instruction, by gathering them together, on Sunday, for the study of the Word of God. No task can be conceived more useful and self-rewarding. Besides the parents of the dear boys will aid those engaged in it, by their fervent supplications for the divine help and blessing.

“Self-rewarding” army Bible classes may be for men who often face death on the battlefield, but thus far they have unable to prevent the downward spiral of the army as a whole.

Source: “Bible Classes,” Confederate Baptist, December 14, 1864