Baptists and the American Civil War: November 6, 1865

American ShipsToday the last Confederate surrender takes place across the Atlantic Ocean in Liverpool, England, where the CSS Shenandoah, the only Confederate vessel to circumnavigate the globe, lowers her flag for the final time. The Confederate Navy thus comes to an end.

Meanwhile, a few days out of Boston harbor aboard the schooner H. P. Russell, freedmen from the Lynchburg, Virginia area numbering some 172 are sailing to Liberia through the efforts of the American Colonization Society. Few freedmen of the post-war era wish to relocate to Africa, but there is excitement aboard the H. P. Russell this day.

Former slave and master bricklayer John McNuckles is the originator and leader of the group. Today from aboard ship he writes:

Chesapeake Bay, Nov. 6, 1865.

Dear Sir: We are now sailing down the Chesapeake Bay.  We feel it our duty to write you a few lines informing you of our health and proceedings. We have all been sea-sick up to this time, but myself and some others, and doing first-rate. We are all in fine spirits and hope to launch upon the Atlantic ocean very soon. We have been sailing about nine miles an hour upon the vessel H. P. Russell. Our fare is delightful. We have singing and prayer every morning and night by the leading members of the Methodist and Baptist churches of the city of Lynchburg, Va. We desire you to have this published in remembrance of those that are gone to their father-land. God bless you all, may you all prosper in business and not forget to pray unto God, the author of every good thing, for all of us, and if we never more see each other again on earth, I hope that we all shall meet in Heaven at last, where partings are no more. All send their love and respects to their former owners and colored friends, and thank them all very much for the presents they gave us before we started from home. All inquiring friends, both white and colored, will share a portion of parting love. My respects to you and family. I remain your affectionate friend,


Sources: “Confederate States Navy” (link); The African Repository, Volume XLI, Washington: American Colonization Society, 1865, pp. 370 (link)