Baptists and the American Civil War: March 10, 1865

North Carolina MapA contingent of Union General William T. Sherman‘s troops, under the command of General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, have been on the march toward Fayetteville, North Carolina. Nearby Confederates, however, learn of the enemy’s intentions and today carry out a surprise attack at Monroe’s Crossroads.

The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads is a dizzying affair that lasts most of the day. The Rebels, having a complete element of surprise when attacking, initially gain the advantage over the Federals, capturing many and forcing the remainder to scatter in retreat. The Confederates do not follow.

The Union forces, however, rally and turn back to re-engage the enemy. This time the element of surprise is with the Federals, who after fierce fighting force the Confederates to withdraw.

At the end of the day both sides claim victory. Nonetheless, the Confederates are unable to prevent the capture of nearby Fayetteville.

As fighting thus takes place in North Carolina, to the west the Mississippi legislative session, meeting at the First Baptist Church of Columbus, comes to end. Although legislators voted upon new war bonds, the feeling is that the cause is hopeless. A number of legislators have resigned in recent days.

Even further westward, newly freed blacks in Klein, Texas establish the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church this day. The founding of this congregation and many other autonomous black Baptist churches toward the end of the war is one evidence of the great hopes that formers slaves have for their future.

Sources: Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads, North Carolina History Project (link); Timothy B. Smith, Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front, p. 46 (link); Diane Lynn Severance, “History of the Kohrville Community and the Kohrville School” (link)