Baptists and the American Civil War: March 2, 1865

sherman_003In Augusta County, Virginia the Battle of Waynesboro takes place this day. In the one day conflict Federal forces under General George Armstrong Custer spectacularly rout the forces of Confederate General Jubal Early just outside the town of Waynesboro. The Federals, losing only nine men, capture as many as 1,800 Confederates, as well as many cannons and wagons.

The Confederacy could ill afford such a lopsided defeat, and today’s battle effectively brings Early’s Civil War service to an end.

Meanwhile, Sherman continues taking revenge upon South Carolina. Today Chesterfield, the county seat of Chesterfield County, is torched. Up in flames go the courthouse, jail, Chesterfield Academy (a Baptist academy operated by Elizabeth Baptist Church) and all downtown buildings except for a solitary house. Food, staples and livestock are also destroyed.

As illustrated by both of these events, Union forces are resolute, determined and in full command in much of the South. Only Petersburg stands between the Confederacy and total annihilation, and each day Grant’s advantage at Petersburg grows.

The end of the war is clearly in sight.

Source: “Battle of Waynesboro” (link) and (link); “Chesterfield County, South Carolina” (link); Church Records, Elizabeth Baptist Church, Chesterfield, South Carolina, Caroline Family Roots (link); “Letter from the Low Country,” Christian Index, March 23, 1865