Authored by U.S. National Park Service
Reverend J. William Jones, a chaplain in Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and a witness to the significant religious activity within that army during the American Civil War, stated,
But any history of that army which omits an account of the wonderful influence
of religion upon it — which fails to tell how the courage, discipline, and morale of the whole was influenced by the humble piety and evangelical zeal of many of its officers and men — would be incomplete and unsatisfactory.
His words summarize the general mood experienced by the soldiers of Lee’s Army during the “Great Revival.” There were two sweeping and prolonged revivals that the Army of Northern Virginia experienced. The first occurred along the Rappahannock River in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area, from September 1862 until May 1863. The revivals reappeared more forcefully a second time from August 1863 (after the Gettysburg Campaign) until May 1864 along the
Rapidan River near Orange Court House, Virginia. In these two extended revivals, which often marked the time between campaigns for the Confederate soldier, large crowds of soldiers gathered repeatedly, impressive numbers of professions to the Christian faith were counted, demands for tracts and testaments increased, and the individual soldier-converts exhibited a changed lifestyle. As setbacks beset Lee’s Army in 1863, and news of Confederate defeats in other theaters arrived, the Army of Northern Virginia became more introspective, humble, and repentive of perceived sins. Many of the soldiers even became convinced that God would intervene on their army’s behalf, but only when the Confederate nation purged its bad elements. 106 Overall, the individual soldier, the clergy, and everyone else close to the revivals were profoundly effected. A close investigation into these meaningful religious events with a focus on 1863 will show the extent to which the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was impacted by religious zeal.
Apr 22 2014
1499213417 / 9781499213416
US Trade Paper
8.5″ x 11″
Black and White
History / United States / Civil War