Baptists and the American Civil War: July 15, 1865

Georgia MapMany churches of the South that found themselves in the war’s path shut their doors for the duration of the great conflict. Some churches closed to never reopen after the war, but others are re-assembling and trying to return to normal.

Among the later is Maloney’s Spring Baptist Church of Syrmna, Georgia.

The Maloney’s Spring church closed its doors in May 1864 as Sherman‘s army moved into the area. Today the congregation assembles for the first time following the war. Doubtlessly, emotions run high, and probably a few tears of joy flow, as well as perhaps tears of sadness in the face of remembrances of loved ones lost during the war.

Church records, however, record the re-opening in a more staid, if somewhat poignant, fashion.

After the meeting in May [1864], and before the next meeting in June [1865], the armies fell back upon this section of the country and most of the members of the church, together with the pastor, took refuge in other sections of the country, and, so remained until the next spring and summer, when in the providence of God, we were again permitted to return to our homes. And, although most of us have lost all earthly goods and property, yet we feel that we have abundant reason to thank the Lord that it is no worse. The first conference meeting after our return was held on the 15th of July, 1865 as the next minutes will show. signed by Thomas H. Moore, clerk.

Source: Harold Owens Smith, Historic Smyrna: An Illustrated History, p. 28 (link)