Baptists and the American Civil War: September 7, 1863

Civil War States MapNearly two months after the African American 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment unsuccessfully but heroically attacked the Confederate’s Fort Wagner on Morris Island, South Carolina, the rebels — following constant bombardment for weeks on end that has damaged the fort, in the face of low provisions, and due to the decomposing bodies of dead Union soldiers poisoning their water supply — abandon the fort to Union forces.

Although near Charleston, now Union-controlled Fort Wagner proves to be of little significance in the war in the months ahead, and within twenty years following the war is washed away by the ocean.

Meanwhile, a correspondent of the New York Times writes of the achievements of Baptists in the thriving city of Chicago that is poised to play a significant role in the settling of the American West.

….The Baptists have just organized a Theological Union, in connection with the University of Chicago, and have elected one Professor, Rev. Dr. COLVER, formerly of Boston. A partial endowment of some $25,000 has been secured.

With all these institutions we ought to be able to meet the demands of the West for preachers. Judging from the fact that there are twenty-four Baptist Ministers alone in this city — only six of whom are Pastors, the balance being engaged in secular and semi-secular work — it would seem that there is already a surplus, at least in that denomination….

Sources: Battle of Fort Wagner, Morris Island (link) and (link) and (link); “Affairs of the West,” New York Times, September 13, 1863 (link)