Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 13, 1864

March 13, 1864

---A Unionist convention takes place in Federal-occupied Hunstville, Alabama.  This convention issues a proclamation condemning the actions of the Confederacy, and calling upon the governor of the state to take measures to restore the people of the state to their former liberties and rights.

---David Lane, of the 17th Michigan Infantry Regiment, writes in his journal concerning his thoughts on the rising tide of anti-slavery feeling in the North, and in the newspapers:

Every day the war continues is another guaranty of the downfall of slavery. The time is not far distant when every Northern man will become an Abolitionist. Look at the Woods, the Brookses, the New York Herald, the New York World and all the leading pro-slavery men and journals of the North. Already are they trying to disengage themselves from the fetid carcass of their dead ally. I do not know as it matters where the final struggle takes place. It may be here, but I think not. Lee and his army will never forsake their native state. There they will fight, and there they must be met and conquered. That done, the rest is comparitively easy.


---This winter, a great religious revival is sweeping the camps of the Army of Northern Virginia.  As an example, William Meade, a Confederate soldier serving in the Richmond Howitzers, writes an account of a revival in his battery:

. . . We had built a little log church, or meeting house, and the fellows who chose had gotten into the way of gathering here every afternoon for a very simple prayer meeting. We had no chaplain and there were only a few Christians among the men. At these meetings one of the young fellows would read a passage of Scripture, and offer a prayer, and all joined in singing a hymn or two. We began to notice an increase of interest, and a larger attendance of the men. A feature of our meeting was a time given for talk, when it was understood that if any fellow had anything to say appropriate to the occasion, he was at liberty to say it. Now and then one of the boys did have a few simple words to offer his comrades in connection, perhaps, with the Scripture reading.

 One day John Wise, one of the best, and bravest men in the Battery, loved and respected by everybody, quietly stood up and said, “I think it honest and right to say to my comrades that I have resolved to be a Christian. I here declare myself a believer in Christ. I want to be counted as such, and by the help of God, will try to live as such.”

This was entirely unexpected. He sat down amidst intense silence. A spirit of deep seriousness seemed fallen upon all present. A hymn was sung, and they quietly dispersed. Some of us shook hands with Wise and expressed our pleasure at what he had said, and done.

 This incident produced a profound impression among the men. It brought out the feelings about religion that had lain unexpressed in other minds. The thoughts of many hearts were revealed. The interest spread rapidly; the fervor of our prayer meetings grew. We had no chaplain to handle this situation, but men would seek out their comrades who were Christians, and talk on this great subject with them, and accept such guidance in truth, and duty as they could give. And now from day to day at the prayer meetings men would get up in the quiet way John Wise had done, and in simple words declare themselves Christians in the presence of their comrades. . . .

 This movement went quietly on, without any fuss or excitement, until some sixty-five men, two-thirds of our whole number, had confessed their faith, and taken their stand, and in conduct and spirit, as well as in word, were living consistent Christian lives. They carried that faith, and that life, and character, home when they went back after the war—and they carried them through their lives.


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