Baptists and the American Civil War: June 3, 1865

Alabama Map 1860sThe last army of the Confederacy surrendered yesterday, and today Fort Randolph in Louisiana follows suit. Built in late 1864 to defend against expected Union advances in the state, Fort Randolph did not play a major role in the war.

Also this day the CSS Missouri surrenders to the Union, the last ironclad to do so. Deployed on Louisiana’s Red River in April 1863, the ship, hampered by low water, saw no direct action during the war.

Amidst the transfer of the fort and ship to the United States and a little further to the east in southern Alabama, the Clear Creek Missionary Baptist Church meets for the first time following the war. One of many congregations of the South that re-assembles this month, the church within months changes its name to the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.

Although church minutes give no indication of the reason for the change, the white South, thoroughly defeated on the battlefield, seeks a new hope. In the months and years to come, churches like New Hope help provide a biblical basis for a post-war white South that remains true to a Caucasian-oriented God despite the devastation of the Civil War.

Sources: Fort Randolph (link); CSS Missouri (link); Stephanie Sanders, “New Hope Church” (link)