Baptists and the American Civil War: March 15, 1862

Shiloh Church Before the Battle of Shiloh

Shiloh Church Before the Battle of Shiloh

Today in Tennessee, Generals William Tecumseh Sherman and Stephen Hurlbut arrive at Pittsburg Landing and move inland to Shiloh Church, a small log building. Three weeks hence, the Battle of Shiloh, a major conflict in the Western theater of the war, will take place around this small church.

The church was built by United Methodists, with some references indicating that a Baptist congregation shares the building.

Meanwhile, Union victories in Tennessee are stirring up patriotic sentiments among some Deep South Christians. A Richmond newspaper article, originating from Montgomery, Alabama, captures the mood of the times:

To arms, to arms! is the cry now in every city, village, county, neighborhood, and at every fireside, and victory or death the motto of every true man in these States. You cannot conceive the enthusiasm and excitement which has followed the late defeats. Yesterday I came to this place from Georgia, and on the train was a company whose Captain is a Methodist clergyman, whose First Lieutenant is a Baptist preacher, and nearly every member a pious man. The Captain formed his company in church, after delivering an eloquent sermon. A man from the hills of Georgia said to me. ‘”Since they whipped us so in Tennessee, all of us in my country are volunteering. I have made up my mind that death is better than subjugation, and have bid farewell to my wife and seven little ones, and am in for the war.”’

Sources: Sherman’s movements (link); “Rushing to Arms,” Richmond Daily Dispatch, March 15, 1862 (link); image (link)