Baptists and the American Civil War: May 7, 1865

Joseph Brown, Governor of Georgia, and a Southern Baptist

Joseph Brown, Governor of Georgia, and a Southern Baptist

Not all Confederate forces have yet surrendered. In the mountains of North Carolina near Franklin, a small contingent of Confederates remain armed and active. Patrolling the area are the forces of Union Colonel George W. Kirk. “(D)ue to the possibility of Yankee Soldiers in the county,” Franklin’s First Baptist Church cancels services this day.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s governor Joseph Brown, a Baptist layman, is causing an uproar.

Only days earlier having surrendered to Union forces and receiving a pardon, Brown on this day and against federal orders attempts to convene the Georgia General Assembly, declaring that economic devastation necessitates legislative action.

In response Secretary of War Edwin Stanton this evening orders Brown arrested and deported to Washington, D.C. In the weeks to come Brown briefly serves prison time.

Today’s developments in North Carolina and Georgia are illustrative of the complicated crosscurrents developing throughout the South this month as Union forces mop up remaining, scattered resistance and begin the daunting task of exercising effective control over the governments of recalcitrant southern state officials.

Sources: “North Carolina as a Civil War Battlefield, November 1864–May 1865,” LearnNC (link); “History, First Baptist Church, Franklin, North Carolina” (link); William Harris Bragg, “Reconstruction in Georgia,” New Georgia Encyclopedia (link); Andrew Johnson, The Papers of Andrew Johnson: May-August 1865, University of Tennessee Press, 1989, pp. 40-41 (link)