Baptists and the American Civil War: September 10, 1863

revivals_confederatesToday the Union captures Little Rock, Arkansas in the Battle of Bayou Fourche. Afterwards, state Confederate forces retreat to Arkadelphia and Rockport and establish a new state capitol at Washington, in Hempstead County. The fall of Little Rock further fragments the Confederate nation as the Southwest is increasingly isolated from the rest of the South.

Meanwhile, revivals continue throughout the South, both within the armies and on the home front, and seemingly fueled by despondency over the current direction of the war. This week’s North Carolina Baptist Biblical Recorder features a letter from a Baptist missionary who is involved in starting new churches.

Bro. Hufham:–I have just closed my round of protracted meetings. I commenced at South Point, in Gaston county, on Saturday before the third Sabbath in last month, and continued six days–during the meeting I had the privilege of baptizing nine, and left twenty-four yet to baptize.–At this place we are operating, as an arm of the Bruington church. When I commenced there, in the winter we had but eight members, we have now eighty-two. We expect to constitute a church there as soon as possible.

From there I went to Union church, and commenced on fast day, and continued ten days. I had the privilege of baptizing during the meeting forty, and left three to baptize. We constituted a church at this place in June, with twenty-one members. We now have sixty-four. At our next meeting we expect to get a good many at each place. Excuse me when I tell you that I have had the privilege of baptizing two hundred and ninety-six this year. All my churches are or will be members of the Catawba Association. We will carry up an addition to that body this year of over 600 members. When we closed our meetings, the prospects were better than at any former period of the meetings. As I returned from Union I had a night appointment at Lineburger’s M. H. After preaching we received 8 for baptism. We are not enjoying the revival alone; our Methodist brethren are having a good time in the same country.–It looked as if the favored time for Gaston has arrived. Help us to continue in prayer that it may spread.

A full Recorder has made its joyful appearance among us. Do not curtail the size if you increase the price.

The day we closed at Union, I took up a collection for army colportage, which amounted to $64.50, which I will hand over to bro. Cobb at the proper time.

Yours truly,

A. J. Cansler

Lincolnton, Sept. 1st, 1863

Sources: Battle of Bayou Fourche (link); “Revivals of Religion,” Biblical Recorder, September 9, 1863 (link)