1864: “Civilization To Our Headquarters”

Jany 23/64

…Tonight we dedicated our new chapel and in remembrance of R.I. [Rhode Island] and in recognition of God’s goodness to use we have named it “Hope” Chapel. The building is made of logs hewn smooth on one side and built up cob fashion. Most of the hewing was done by Chaplain Beugless and Lieut. John M. Turner. The roof is covered by a large canvas, presented by the Christian Commission. Inside we have a fireplace and tin reflectors for candles on the walls. A chandelier made from old tin cans, or the tin taken from cans is in the centre. The pulpit or desk is covered with red flannel, and the ground or floor is carpeted with pine boughs. We sent a detail of men in command of Capt. John G. Beveridge to a deserted church near by and took out the seats and placed them in our Chapel. Our boys had a fight with the guerrillas but brought back the seats…

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1863: “Increased Religious Interest Among Our Troops Here”

April 10

…I trust that God is going to bless us with great success, and in such manner as to show that it is all His gift; and I trust and pray that it will lead our country to acknowledge Him, and to live accordance with His will as revealed in the Bible. There appears to be an increased religious interest among our troops here. Our chaplains have weekly meetings on Tuesdays; and the one of this week was more charming than the preceding one.

General Thomas J. Jackson to his wife, Mary Anna Jackson, April 10, 1863. Continue reading

With Gladness: Civil War Christmas

with-gladness-coverYes, With Gladness has a short story set in the American Civil War. Someday it will happen: I’ll write publish a book that doesn’t have a tie to the 1860’s. But it hasn’t happened yet, and probably won’t in the near future.

“The Christmas Sermon” pays tribute to the chaplains during the conflict and their role of serving and preaching to the soldiers in camps, on battlefields, and in hospitals. The main character is young and still learning his role as a minister, but his role highlights the dedication of faithful preachers during this era.

I don’t like to “play favorites” with my stories and writing, but “The Christmas Sermon” is consistently one that I enjoy reading. Today, I’m pleased to share some historical details and background from the story. Continue reading

Chaplains in the West

As I was scanning through an anthology of historical essays about the Buffalo Soldiers, one particular chapter caught my attention. It addressed the role and lives of the five African American chaplains who served with Buffalo Soldier cavalry and infantry during the late 19th Century.

Christian faith and the influence of religious beliefs are topics that I often look for when I’m studying a new era or topic, so I was really excited to see a whole chapter on the subject. Today I thought I’d share an overview of what I learned about the men who choose to serve the Lord in a particularly challenging environment. Continue reading