Baptists and the American Civil War: March 29, 1865

Map of Virginia 1860sWith freedom so rapidly spreading throughout the South to former slaves, new African Baptist congregations are being established seemingly every week. In some cases, new churches come about long after emancipation, the result of factors including an influx of freedmen and/or the simple passing of time sometimes necessary for a new body of believers to coalesce.

Alexandria, Virginia fits the later situation. The longest-occupied Confederate city during the war, Alexandria has been under Union control for virtually the entire duration of the war, serving as a refuge for freedmen.

Today yet another African American Baptist congregation is established in Alexandria: the Old Shiloh Society (later renamed the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church). Fifty freedmen assemble in a U.S. government dining hall to worship God. The first leaders of the congregation are the Rev. Charles Rogers and the Rev. Lelan Warring.

In September the new congregation constructs their first building. Existing and thriving to the present day, the church is now known as the Victory Temple Missionary Baptist Church.

Sources: “Alexandria During the War: Witness to War and Reunion,” City of Alexandria (link); “About Us,” Victory Temple Missionary Baptist Church (link)