Baptists and the American Civil War: February 15, 1864

Civil War States MapSouthern Baptist newspapers during the war publish articles on a wide variety of subject matter, both religious and non-religious. And while many Baptists all too readily prefer to sort subjects into neat and clear sacred and secular categories, the war so intermingles the two that they often overlap or even fuse together in such a fashion as to be indistinguishable.

Baptist newspapers of the South thus reflect the realities of the time, or perhaps foster those realities. Readers on the home front and in the army camps are weekly informed of theology, moral lessons, biblical thought, the national politics of two nations, war happenings, noteworthy societal news, and so much more, all seasoned with strong helpings of commentary, opinion and even gossip … none of which ever disparages the inherent goodness and glory of the Southern Confederacy, and some of which happily points out the evils of the North.

Hence, this week’s North Carolina Biblical Recorder publishes the following collection of articles under the heading of “Various Things”:

THE PATRIOTISM OF SOUTHERN WOMEN. General Howell Cobb, in a recent address to the citizens of Macon, Georgia, said: “With what alacrity and energy do our women always respond to the demands of patriotism. In the first year of the war they sent enough clothing to the army to last two years. They are working day and night for our soldiers. Talk not of Roman matrons, Spartan mothers, or the women of the first revolution. The world has never seen such women as are now in the South. Should all other means fail to win our independence–should the men refuse to fight longer our battles–I will, as a last resort, assemble the women of our land and march them forth for duty in the field.”

BENEFICIAL INFLUENCE OF THE WAR.–Many of our soldiers will thank God, through life, that they were called into the army. Many have there found the pearl of great price and others have enjoyed religion, amid the exposures and temptations of camp, as they never enjoyed it before. An eminent Christian officer, now passed to his reward, wrote on this subject: “This service in the army has not been without its benefits, and as I trust, great, lasting and eternal benefits, to me. The busy, bustling life, that I had led ever since I left College, until I left home for the war, gave me the but little time for calm, serious, sober thought on my past history and future life. In the quiet of the outpost, in the stillness of the camp at night, in the weary, solitary journeys to visit the chain of sentinels, I find ample time for reflection. With no books to read, with no business cares to engross or distract my attention, my mind has turned back upon myself, and often has the path I have trod been traveled over again by me.”

A MISSIONARY ARRESTED BY THE YANKEES–The Christian Observer states that Rev. Mr. Caldwell, a Missionary laboring under the New School Presbyterian Board of Missions has been arrested by the Yankees and that he is now a prisoner in their hands.

JUSTICE TO PASTORS–One of the Methodist congregations in Augusta, Georgia, has given its pastor $4,000, half of it already in his hands. Another in Mobile has given its preacher $5,000, $3,000 of it in advance.

WASHINGTON UNDER YANKEE RULE–A correspondent of a Boston journal draws the following picture of Washington as it appears under Yankee rule: “The capital of the nation is growing so wicked that I sometimes think it would be a good idea to send down here a dozen missionaries, if there are any to spare in the North. Our churches are open, but this great outside population avoids them. The city is crowded with the vile and the debauched. Every manner of wickedness is upon the increase. Sober men sometimes fear the judgment of heaven upon the city in some marked manner. It is easy to perceive the causes which make Washington the receptacle of so much depravity. It is the capital, where a vast number of soldiers, officers and wealthy civilians are congregated. So hither flock thieves, gamblers, rum dealers, brothel keepers, and their likes. Every kind of knave that ever man heard of, or read about, lives in the city, and the laws against them are not vigorously executed. There are too many knaves in high places for that, I fear.”

THE DAY OF JUDGMENT–Bishop Atkinson recently delivered a discourse in Warrenton, setting forth the certainty of a day of judgment and the uncertainty as to the precise time of its coming, but pointing out signs in the present condition of the world that the day is not far off.

THE SOURCE OF ALL EVIL–New England is the source of most of the political evils which have afflicted the people of the United States: “A letter writer from Philadelphia states that, so far as he knows, all the Universalist and Unitarian ministers that are or ever have been in that city came from New England.”

Source: “Various Things,” Biblical Recorder, February 13, 1864 (link)