Baptists and the American Civil War: October 21, 1864

Georgia MapConfederates score a minor victory this day and the next in the border state of Missouri in the Second Battle of Independence. However, Union forces turn around and defeat the Rebels on the 23rd in the Battle of Westport, the latter battle bringing to an end major Confederate operations west of the Mississippi River.

White Southern Baptists, meanwhile, continue casting about for answers to the string of Confederate defeats that began at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in July 1863.

Georgia Baptist Christian Index editor Samuel Boykin argues that Atlanta fell to the enemy due to evil within the city. According to Boykin, “Atlanta was a place noted for its covetousness and extortion, its eager pursuit of mammon and its forgetfulness of God.”

Boykin continues:

Though repeatedly called upon to unite in prayer for the safety of the city and country, its inhabitants could not be induced to meet and pray; and during all the time Sherman was threatening the city, its citizens neglected to meet and pray, except for a few days only. They forgot God, and he gave them over to their enemies.

Not surprisingly, some former Atlanta residents (having left due to Sherman’s occupation) dispute the Macon-based editor’s characterizations. Boykin, however, refuses to back down: Atlanta fell because there were too many ungodly inhabitants.

Finger-pointing, a growing sport of sorts as darkness descends ever lower over the Confederacy, will only grow more intense in the months to come.

Sources: Second Battle of Independence (link) and (link); Battle of Westport (link) and (link); “Atlanta Caluminated,” Christian Index, October 21, 1864; “Atlanta Caluminated: A Reply,” Christian Index, October 28, 1864