|Stonewall Jackson at Camp Prayer Meeting|
(Library of Congress)
[The Richmond Daily Dispatch Jan. 3, 1863]
The piety of the Confederates.
A Baltimore correspondent, writing to the London Index, says:
But before I close I must tell you of the beautiful humility and heroic piety which seemed to pervade the hearts of all the Confederates I saw. I have never seen a strong religious sentiment so generally prevalent as I find it among them. Of twenty men with whom I conversed one afternoon, seventeen were professors of religion, and the eighteenth said he was a man of prayer, and looked to God as his protector. A plain, unlettered Georgia boy said: "In all my intercourse with these Yankees, I have never heard them allude once to what God can do. They talk about what twenty millions of men can do, and what hundreds of millions of money can do, and what their powerful navy can do; but they leave God out of the calculation altogether; but, sir, the Lord is our trust, and He will be our defence." The Rev.--was with me during a part of my tour. He was asked on one occasion to lead in prayer, in a barn filled with wounded, near Sharpsburg. After a season of most solemn and affecting devotion, a young man called the reverend gentleman to his side, and said: "I am dying, sir; but I am not afraid to die, for I hope to go to heaven. Nor am I sorry that I have been slain in battle, for I would willingly sacrifice a dozen lives if I had them for such a cause as we are fighting for."
Time and again I heard the 124th Psalm quoted: "If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us; then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us. Blessed be the Lord, who bath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth."
They are not given to vaunting themselves; there is nothing as all of the spirit of bravado about them; and so far from manifesting a ferocious disposition, they very frankly confess they are tired of the war; but at the same time they are animated by a determined resolution that, God helping them, they will never be subjugated. When one of them was asked if he did not fear that the prodigious armies now organizing against them would utterly overwhelm them, he replied that, "with God above, and General Lee at their head, they feared nothing that man could do." History, sir, furnishes no legends more touching and glorious than are exhibited in the sacrifices and endurance of the Southern people. Such a people merit the admiration of the world, and deserve to achieve their independence.
Pardon me for saying so much, but incident after incident arose in my mind, and so clamored for relation that I could not sooner stop.