Baptists and the American Civil War: April 9, 1863

Civil War Hospital

Civil War Hospital

North Carolina Baptists this week read of the work of Baptist pastor B. F. Jessup, who is ministering to wounded and sick Confederate soldiers in the Confederate hospital in Wilmington, the city which had experienced a devastating outbreak of yellow fever the previous fall.

I am often affected to tears in my morning rounds (through the hospital) by the pressing invitations to ‘Come back tonight and pray for us, won’t you?’ I feel for the poor soldiers sick and dying in the hospitals, but I can not get board in town, not even in the hospital. When I am here I get along as well as I can. Some times I buy something; some times I eat with the nurses, and sleep about the same way, and sometimes go without, but I can do any way almost.

Jessups’ wording about eating and sleeping with the nurses may seem a bit awkward, but his observations of the topsy-turvy world of war-time Wilmington is descriptive of many other Southern towns as the war nears its third year.

Sources: “Letters from our Army Colporters,” Biblical Recorder, April 9, 1863 (link); see also J. D. Hufham (edited by Jack E. Fryar, Jr.), One Good Man: Rev. John Lamb Prichard’s Life of Faith, Service and Sacrifice, Wilmington: Dram Tree Books, 1867, 2007