Baptists and the American Civil War: August 28, 1865

new_jerseyDuring the war Sussex County, New Jersey harbored an inordinate amount of Peace Democrat sentiment, evidenced in a solid majority vote for George McClellan, running against Abraham Lincoln, in the November presidential election.

Sussex County is also a place where the Baptist presence is strong, evidenced at local fairs and celebrations, during which the Baptist “booth” is often one of the most popular.

Today at a local rally as many as four thousand citizens gather to hear General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick speak in the town of Newton. Although Kilpatrick is a war hero, having led the Union Cavalry during General William T. Sherman‘s March to the Sea through Georgia, his speech is drowned out by the vocal protests of local Democrats.

Northern Baptists were among the most radical supporters of abolitionism prior to and during the war, but perhaps in Sussex County even after the war, opinions regarding freedom for black persons remains divided.

Source: Kevin W. Wright, “The Centennial of Monument Day and the Dedication of the Sussex County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument” (link)