We believe that God is with us, not only to own and bless His word to the salvation of men, but that His blessing rests upon our cause and attends our armies . . . . We are thankful to God for the large number of Christian officers who command our armies and aid us in our work. The presence of so many pious men in the ranks gives us a Church in almost every regiment to begin with. The intercourse and Christian communion of Christian brethren in the army is as intimate and precious as anywhere upon earth. It is an interesting fact, that by this work ministers of the different denominations are brought into closer and more harmonious co-operation, thus promoting the unity and charity of the whole Church, and greatly encouraging each other . . . . The near approach of death excites to serious thought. Religious reading is sought and appreciated.


Many opportunities for personal kindness to the sick and the wounded, on the battlefield and in the camp, bind grateful hearts to faithful chaplains. In preaching the word, conducting prayer-meetings and Bible classes, by circulating the Scriptures and other religious reading, and by frequent conversations in private, we have ample opportunity for doing our master's work and laboring for immortal souls... .


At this very time a most interesting and extensive work of grace is in progress amongst the troops stationed in and around the desolated city of Fredericksburg. The evidences of God's love and mercy are thus brought into immediate and striking contrast with the marks of the cruelty and barbarity of men.

Brethren, do not these movements of the Holy Ghost indicate where God's ministers should follow, and in what work they should engage? . . . Eternity alone can disclose the extent of the blessed work which faithful chaplains have accomplished in our armies. . .

Brethren, send us more chaplains. The harvest truly is great, the laborers are few. We send abroad to the Churches the Macedonian cry, Come and help us. . . . The cause will not brook delay. A series of battles, which may speedily follow the opening of the campaign, will sweep away thousands of our brave comrades and friends-thousands of your own sons and brothers. Then come while it is called today. Come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.

The appeal for more chaplains in the army went beyond the immediate situation, looking forward to the future of the new country the Southerners were attempting to establish. After the war was over, the leaders of the new Confederacy would be the survivors of the army. It was important that these men be established Christians. If they were godless men, then the new government would be immoral and godless. The entire fight for constitutional liberty would then be in vain.

 

Read Part Two tomorrow.

 

Excerpted from Faith in God and Generals, compiled by Ted Baehr and Susan Wales.  Copyright © 2003, Ted Baehr and Susan Wales.  ISBN 0-8054-2728-7. Published by Broadman & Holman Publishers. Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.