"For God and Country: The Role of Religion in the Civil War"
An Online Chat With Author Michael Aubrecht
10/29/2006 8:11 pm (et) MAubrecht: Good evening all and THANK YOU very much for coming. I hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend. I spent today hiking “Gordon’s Flank Attack Trail” out at The Wilderness Battlefield. The fall leaves are amazing in Virginia at this time of year, and I’m sure they are just as pretty in your neck of the woods. Not surprising… I got lost (again), and yes, my 9 year-old got us out. In fact, she is the ONLY reason why I am here with you, and not still wandering through the darkness…
Virginia historian Michael Aubrecht has dedicated his studies to the role of Christianity during the Civil War and is the author of numerous articles and books on the subject including "Onward Christian Soldier: The Spiritual Journey of Stonewall" and "Christian Cavalier: The Spirit Legacy of JEB Stuart." During this discussion Michael presented a look at faith both on the battlefield and off. Topics included: Thomas Jackson and the Institution of Chaplains in the Confederacy, Stonewall's Sunday School for Slave Children, Oliver Howard: Battlefield Believer, Father Corby, Priest of the Irish Brigade and the Double-Edge Sword of Theology.
For those wishing to participate in future discussions you may register for the chat room at http://www.civilwarhome.com/chatregister.htm.
For more information about Michael visit his website at http://www.pinstripepress.net/
10/29/2006 8:12 pm (et) MAubrecht: Before I begin my presentation, I would like to thank ks, and shotgun, and basecat for inviting me to speak here tonight. It is truly an honor and privilege to be among such a diverse and knowledgeable group of fellow "buffs". As this is an online discussion (my first BTW), I am going to try to make things run as smoothly as I can. Please allow me to explain.10/29/2006 8:13 pm (et) MAubrecht: I have some pre-prepared materials that I would like to share, and I hope that they generate some discussion. In order to establish a rhythm and not have us all typing away furiously at the same time, I will post a few blurbs on a particular topic, and when I have completed that topic, I will follow it with this: XXXXXXXXX…
10/29/2006 8:14 pm (et) MAubrecht: That will mean that I am done with a particular section and that questions or comments can follow. If you would like to ask a question, please type “?” and I’ll address you in the order they appear. After the questions are done, I’ll open it up for comments from you guys and gals, or we can move on to the next topic.10/29/2006 8:14 pm (et) MAubrecht: As we have a wide-range of participants this evening and both sides of the Mason-Dixon are represented here, I have prepared an even sum of southern and northern topics. Each section has between 6 – 8 short paragraphs (each) and I’m condensing it down due to time constraints. However, I’ll stay as long as you like too, so stick around if you want to chat in more detail about any of these topics (or any others.) I’m trying not to overwhelm anyone and keep it pleasantly readable.
10/29/2006 8:15 pm (et) MAubrecht: AND WE EVEN HAVE PRIZES! One lucky participant tonight will be receiving autographed copies of my books “Onward Christian Soldier: The Spiritual Journey of Stonewall” and “Christian Cavalier: The Spiritual Legacy of JEB Stuart”. AND if you are a parent, I’ll throw in copies of my 14-page coloring book for kids” “The American Civil War.” (One for every child) I’ll post a trivia question at the end of our conversation, and the first to respond with the correct answer will win.10/29/2006 8:16 pm (et) MAubrecht: And PLEASE let me know if I am going too fast, and I will be more than happy to slow down.
10/29/2006 8:17 pm (et) MAubrecht: Let’s get started. The title of this chat is “For God and Country: The Role of Religion in the Civil War”. With a group this savvy, I am sure that I will be touching on some familiar topics, BUT my goal is to cover some material that you may not be aware of. I have especially labored to quote as many letters and other correspondence that you may not have read (to date).10/29/2006 8:18 pm (et) MAubrecht: Now, human beings have been fighting each other since ancient times, and people have been discussing the rights and wrongs of it for almost as long. Religion has played a major role in these conflicts whether for good or evil, and it is this allegiance to one’s God(s) that has provided a great sense of strength and comfort to soldiers and civilians in times of war. From the days of Alexander “The Great,” to today’s “War on Terror” in the Middle East, religion on the battlefield has been recognized as both a blessing, and a curse. Perhaps no other event in American history witnessed this fact more than the War Between the States.
10/29/2006 8:19 pm (et) MAubrecht: Tonight I want to discuss some relatable topics and I’ll try to get through as many as I can. Here’s our agenda: Thomas Jackson and the Institution of Chaplains in the Confederacy, Stonewall’s Sunday School for Slave Children, Oliver Howard: Battlefield Believer, Father Corby, Priest of the Irish Brigade, and The Double-Edge Sword of Theology. Let’s begin shall we with our first topic.10/29/2006 8:19 pm (et) MAubrecht: THOMAS JACKSON AND THE INSTITUTION OF CHAPLAINS IN THE CONFEDERACY:
10/29/2006 8:20 pm (et) MAubrecht: Now I’m sure that everybody here is fairly familiar with how important of a role religion played in the life of Thomas Jackson. However, you may not be aware of how much of a role he (in turn) played in religion during the Civil War. In addition to being one of the Confederacy’s most fearsome commanders, he was also very instrumental in the establishment of military-based chaplains in the field, AND also (in some regards) Civil Rights, as he and his wife established and financially supported the first Sunday school for black children in his town of Lexington, VA. I’ll elaborate on both of these.10/29/2006 8:21 pm (et) MAubrecht: As a devout evangelical Christian, Jackson was actively religious, and held the civilian position as a deacon in the local Presbyterian Church. He practiced his faith, devotions, and Bible study wherever he went, and he profoundly disliked fighting on Sundays, though that did not stop him from doing so. One of his most passionate initiatives was the institution of chaplains in the field. At the time, most American armies did not commonly deploy with “embedded” clergy. Clearly, Jackson understood the need for spiritual strengthening and that a “healthy soul” meant “healthy troops.” He was (IMO) one of the first American CW generals to truly believe a soldier’s mental state-of-mind directly affected his ability to perform on the battlefield. His own passion for the Word, and steadfast faith ultimately inspired his men to rise to the occasion, and his beliefs became infectous throughout the ranks.
10/29/2006 8:22 pm (et) MAubrecht: One of my favorite bios, “Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War” by George F.R. Henderson, presents a wonderful portrait of the general’s convictions: “Religion entered into every facet of his life. ‘I had long cultivated,’ he said, ‘the habit of connecting the most trivial and customary acts of life with a silent prayer.’ He interpreted the Bible literally. For example, Jackson's observance of the Sabbath was fastidious. He neither read a letter nor posted a letter on the Sabbath day, and he believed that the government was violating God's law in carrying the mail (i.e. working) on that day. It was one of the most important duties of the legislature, he maintained, to stop such work.”10/29/2006 8:23 pm (et) MAubrecht: In another favorite Jackson bio (Mine :-)), I quoted a letter that states his concern with a lack of religious representation. Here is an excerpt: "After realizing a lack of participation in the war effort by the church, Thomas sent a letter to the Southern Presbyterian General Assembly, petitioning them for support. It stated, "Each branch of the Christian Church should send into the army some of its most prominent ministers who are distinguished for their piety, talents and zeal; and such ministers should labor to produce concert of action among chaplains and Christians in the army. These ministers should give special attention to preaching to regiments which are without chaplains, and induce them to take steps to get chaplains, to let the regiments name the denominations from which they desire chaplains selected, and then to see that suitable chaplains are secured." He added, "A bad selection of a chaplain may prove a curse instead of a blessing."
10/29/2006 8:25 pm (et) MAubrecht: Despite this lack of readily available clergymen in the early Confederate Army, Jackson appointed a personal minister to his staff, and maintained daily prayer rituals whether in camp or on the march. Whenever possible, a strict schedule of morning and evening worship on the Sabbath, as well as Wednesday prayer meetings, was adhered to at all costs. One of our local Fredericksburg CW “celebs,” the chaplain Reverend Tucker Lacy routinely led the services, which were often attended by General Lee and his staff. As the courageous reputation of Jackson’s brigade continued to grow, so did their quest for salvation.10/29/2006 8:26 pm (et) MAubrecht: Reverend Lacy’s energizing speeches quickly became a popular event for both saved and unsaved soldiers, who attended his sermons by the thousands. Jackson recalled one particular event that summarized the success of their ministry. He wrote, “It was a noble sight to see there those, who led our armies to victory and upon whom the eyes of the nation are turned with admiration and gratitude, melted in tears at the story of the cross and the exhibition of the love of God to the repenting and return sinner.”
10/29/2006 8:27 pm (et) MAubrecht: In retrospect, it was (IMO) their dedication to faith that enabled both the “The Stonewall Brigade” and their commander to reach heights on the battlefield beyond those of ordinary men. By putting his trust in God, Jackson was able to inspire those under him to achieve victory in the face of defeat. With total confidence, he routinely bragged of their bravery saying, “Who could not conquer with such troops as these?”10/29/2006 8:28 pm (et) MAubrecht: Thanks to the good general’s efforts AND example, the Confederate army soon began “employing” chaplains to accompany their troops in the field. Some even went so far as to participate in the fight, but most were stationed at camp for weekly rituals and ceremonies before and after the battle. As expected, there were predominantly Protestant preachers in the South, and there was a much bigger Catholic contingency in the North’s ranks, mostly due to the large population of immigrants. (NOTE: I will specifically discuss one of the Federal Army’s more notable priests a little later on.)
10/29/2006 8:28 pm (et) MAubrecht: Regardless of the balance of Protestants and/or Catholics, denominations were not important in the eyes of Jackson, or his peers. He specifically cited this as a mandatory rule, “Denominational distinctions should be kept out of view, and not touched upon. And, as a general rule, I do not think a chaplain who would preach denominational sermons should be in the army. His congregation is his regiment, and it is composed of various denominations. I would like to see no question asked in the army of what denomination a chaplain belongs to; but let the question be, Does he preach the Gospel?”10/29/2006 8:30 pm (et) MAubrecht: Always a teacher himself, Jackson dedicated almost every waking moment (that did not require his military service) to educating the uneducated, uplifting the downtrodden, and introducing those around him to the glory of God. His popularity with the troops also enabled him to reach them in ways that other men could not, and he was often found praying with the wounded at their bedside. It was directly through his own efforts (and persistence) that other brigades in other commands benefited from the presence of clergy that inevitably made the horrors of war a little more tolerable.
10/29/2006 8:30 pm (et) MAubrecht: He once said, “If you desire to be more heavenly minded, think more of the things of Heaven, and less of the things of Earth.” This is exactly how he conducted his extraordinary life and had an awful lot to do with why we remember him today.10/29/2006 8:31 pm (et) MAubrecht: Next, I’ll tell you the story of Jackson’s Sunday school for slaves – but before I do – are there any questions or comments that anyone has in regards to the establishment of chaplains and Jackson’s involvement in this venture? XXXXXXXXX
10/29/2006 8:31 pm (et) ks: ?10/29/2006 8:31 pm (et) MAubrecht: Yes ma'am.
10/29/2006 8:32 pm (et) NJRebel: ?10/29/2006 8:32 pm (et) ks: Not exactly the question you want, but it's what comes to mind. :) Michael, you stated that Jackson's observance of the Sabbath was fastidious. ISTR reading that he had on some occasions "changed" the day of the week so that the observance could be held. Have you read that, and, if so, can you comment?
10/29/2006 8:32 pm (et) amhistoryguy: ?10/29/2006 8:33 pm (et) MAubrecht: Jackson adhered to the concept of a holy day dedicated to the sole obligations of prayer and contemplation. I have read that IF Sunday was a fighting day, he would designate another day in the week for such activities.
10/29/2006 8:34 pm (et) ks: Okay...good enough. Thanks. :)10/29/2006 8:34 pm (et) MAubrecht: He maintained a strict schedule of daily rituals when at home. He took that philosophy into the field and tried to get as much time as he could. NJ?
10/29/2006 8:35 pm (et) NJRebel: Michael, when Jackson was appointed Colonel in the Virginia forces, did he have a chaplain with him at that time?10/29/2006 8:36 pm (et) MAubrecht: There were several chaplains in his Ranks. But as soldiers. Rev. Tucker Lacy filled the role as he was local. Sandy Pendleton (on Jackson's staff) had a father who was also a Rev.
10/29/2006 8:37 pm (et) MAubrecht: Many brigades boasted men of the cloth within their ranks. They were referred to as "Fighting Parsons".10/29/2006 8:37 pm (et) MAubrecht: The idea though of a designated chaplain was not routine.
10/29/2006 8:38 pm (et) NJRebel: Ok, thanks. But did Jackson have a specific chaplain at that early date in the war for his own use?10/29/2006 8:39 pm (et) MAubrecht: From what I understand, Rev Lacy was his first "officially designated" chaplain to accompany his staff. I hope that answers your question?
10/29/2006 8:39 pm (et) NJRebel: It does, for now....10/29/2006 8:40 pm (et) MAubrecht: Great. I'll post some references later if you are interested in exploring that further. You had a question am?
10/29/2006 8:40 pm (et) amhistoryguy: In James Silver's "Confederate Morale & Church Propaganda," he mentions the use of religion as a propaganda tool, the north being evil, and a test for the Confederacy to overcome. This was done in civilian areas according to Silver. Did Jackson use religion as a propaganda tool as well?10/29/2006 8:41 pm (et) MAubrecht: Actually I touch on that very subject later on... I will say that Yes I believe that religion was a BIG propaganda tool. I also believe that Jackson (and many of his peers) fully believed that God was on their side.
10/29/2006 8:41 pm (et) NJRebel: ?10/29/2006 8:42 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Thank you.
10/29/2006 8:42 pm (et) MAubrecht: The north was villianized in some respects as heathens in the eyes of the south. I think that they used alot of Bibilical reference and scripture too as a tool.10/29/2006 8:42 pm (et) MAubrecht: NJ...
10/29/2006 8:43 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Of course the reverse was probably true as well, the north seeing the Confederacy as evil. Works both ways.10/29/2006 8:44 pm (et) MAubrecht: Absolutely. In a Civil War - you have opposing sides who worship the same god. Both believe they are right.
10/29/2006 8:44 pm (et) NJRebel: Two questions here Michael which are complimentary of each other. I have heard if said that Jackson may have been a sort of reincarnated Joshua as in the Old Testament and also that he believed, as did others in the South, that God's Glory was what drove many of them in their dedication to the Cause of the South, even though many like Jackson were "Union" men?10/29/2006 8:44 pm (et) MAubrecht: That's a great question.
10/29/2006 8:47 pm (et) MAubrecht: Anyone who has ever studied Jackson will have to agree that he had an "Old Testament" soul. He routinely refereed to Kings 1 and 2 and 1 and 2 Samuel in his reports. He (IMO) felt that the north (more specifically) the US Government was on par with the Egyptians and Pharoah when they enslaved the Hebrew people.10/29/2006 8:47 pm (et) MAubrecht: To him, this was not a fight for independence. It was nothing short of a holy war.
10/29/2006 8:48 pm (et) NJRebel: Did others echo Jackson's belief in a "holy war'?10/29/2006 8:48 pm (et) MAubrecht: But as you said. He (and many of his peers) were loyal Union men and did not enter the war lightly. It had to be a terrible contradiction to serve so honorably under a flag and then turn against it.
10/29/2006 8:49 pm (et) MAubrecht: I'll actually touch on some others later. So if you could hold on, I'll go on to Topic 2.10/29/2006 8:50 pm (et) NJRebel: I think ones faith or lack of faith might help with that "contradiction" as you have said. Still, it was not an easy decision to make.
10/29/2006 8:50 pm (et) MAubrecht: Great posts guys/gals. Thanks. Let’s move on to our next topic…10/29/2006 8:50 pm (et) MAubrecht: STONEWALL’S SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR SLAVE CHILDREN:
10/29/2006 8:50 pm (et) MAubrecht: : It would be completely ignorant (and incorrect) of me not to acknowledge the moral dilemma over the South’s practice of slavery, and the contradiction that it poses in regards to Jackson and his contemporary’s beliefs. Although I firmly believe that Jackson felt that slavery was (at the time) according to God’s will, he was not entirely opposed to it.10/29/2006 8:51 pm (et) MAubrecht: Jackson's family owned six slaves in the late 1850s. Three (Hetty, Cyrus, and George, a mother and two teenage sons) were received as a wedding present. Albert requested that Jackson purchase him and allow him to work for his freedom; he was employed as a waiter in one of the Lexington hotels and Jackson rented him to VMI. Amy also requested that Jackson purchase her from a public auction and she served the family as a cook and housekeeper. The sixth, Emma, was a four-year-old orphan with a learning disability, accepted by Jackson from an aged widow and presented to his second wife, Anna. He also had a manservant that he employed at the start of the war. This gentleman acted as both a cook and valet and accompanied him into the field.
10/29/2006 8:52 pm (et) MAubrecht: In “Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend” James Robertson wrote about Jackson's view on slavery: "Jackson neither apologized for nor spoke in favor of the practice of slavery. He probably opposed the institution. Yet in his mind the Creator had sanctioned slavery, and man had no moral right to challenge its existence. The good Christian slaveholder was one who treated his servants fairly and humanely at all times."10/29/2006 8:53 pm (et) MAubrecht: Regardless of one’s verdict in regards to Stonewall’s feelings on the matter, we cannot deny the fact that he was very aware that all people were welcomed at the Lord’s Table. Therefore, Jackson and his wife were both instrumental in the organization in 1855 of Sunday school classes for blacks at the Presbyterian Church. The pastor, Dr. William Spottswood White, described the relationship between Jackson and his Sunday afternoon students: "In their religious instruction he succeeded wonderfully. His discipline was systematic and firm, but very kind. ... His servants reverenced and loved him, as they would have done a brother or father. ... He was emphatically the black man's friend." He addressed his students by name and they in turn referred to him affectionately as "Marse Major."
10/29/2006 8:54 pm (et) MAubrecht: Eager to share their renewed faith with all people, the Jackson family operated their “controversial” Sunday school in Lexington, for African-Americans, and proudly practiced civil disobedience, while teaching black children the ways of salvation. Although he could not alter the social status of slaves, Thomas committed himself to Christian decency and pledged to “assist the souls of those held in bondage.” Believing that slavery was according to God’s will, he confided in some of his Negro students that when the time was right, they would be free.10/29/2006 8:55 pm (et) MAubrecht: He continued his prayerful and financial support for the rest of his life, and stayed in touch with the school even when on campaign. In a letter sent to his pastor he wrote: “In my tent last night, after a fatiguing day’s service, I remembered that I failed to send a contribution for our colored Sunday school. Enclosed you will find a check for that object, which please acknowledge at your earliest convenience and oblige yours faithfully.”
10/29/2006 8:56 pm (et) MAubrecht: Not surprisingly, the “minority-focused” school was highly contested, and not popular with the local white citizens. It seems that even the great Stonewall Jackson was susceptible to public scrutiny. Throughout the massive level of media coverage that followed Jackson’s passing, most publications left this endeavor out entirely, and few mentioned any of his public service in regards to African-Americans. One newspaper, “The Herald,” did recall the affection that his manservant held for the departed general. (Note the blatant use of “slang” quotes)10/29/2006 8:57 pm (et) MAubrecht: It printed, “He had in his service, a Negro who had become so used to his ways as to know when he was about to start on an expedition without receiving any notice from his master. When asked how he could know that, as his master never talked about his plans, the Negro answered, “Massa Jackson allers prays ebery night and ebery mornin’; but when he go on any expedishum he pray two, or tree, or four times durin’ de night. When I see him pray two, or tree, or four times durin’ de night, I pack de baggage, for I know he goin’ on an expedishum.”
10/29/2006 8:58 pm (et) MAubrecht: Following his burial, Jackson’s wife, Mary Anna Morrison, continued their work, and the school remained in operation as a testament to her loving husband’s grace and charity. Today, several descendants of the first students to attend this school have acknowledged Stonewall’s part in introducing their ancestors to the teachings of the Bible. Some have even stated that if not for the bondage of their relatives, they may have never been exposed to the ways of salvation, and that through the efforts of Thomas Jackson alone; they were baptized into the Christian faith.10/29/2006 8:59 pm (et) MAubrecht: In this regard, we can see how the evangelical, white, Christian, slave owner can (and often did) have a positive influence on the future of those held in captivity. For example, many ex-slave preachers were responsible for some of the largest revivals that followed the Civil War, and many routinely gave sermons to white congregations. Some even preached to the Virginia Legislature on more than one occasion. These aspects are often overlooked (or scoffed at) by non-believers, and historical skeptics who choose to examine the institution of slavery in purely “secular” terms. For devout believers, who view the world through non-secular eyes, the idea of showing compassion, mercy, and fulfilling an obligation to “make disciples of all nations” reinforces why one would go to such lengths to both educate and enlighten their slaves. Simply put, Jackson did exactly what his Lord had told him to do; he spread the Good News.
10/29/2006 9:00 pm (et) MAubrecht: On a side note (for those who are interested in exploring this specific subject in more detail) my good friend and noted author, Richard Williams has just published a wonderful book entitled “Stonewall Jackson: The Black Man’s Friend” which presents a very fair and balanced look at Jackson’s pre-war life, white southern Christians, slave preachers, and the complexities of their relationships. He has examined this very subject with such depth, that I cannot do it justice here. Franklin Springs Family Media is currently shooting the film version of the book and I recommend it highly. Are there any questions or comments? XXXXXXXXX10/29/2006 9:01 pm (et) amhistoryguy: ?
10/29/2006 9:01 pm (et) MAubrecht: Yes am...10/29/2006 9:01 pm (et) NJRebel: ?
10/29/2006 9:01 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Did the school include teaching reading? It this the "civil disobedience " you refer to?10/29/2006 9:03 pm (et) MAubrecht: Yes first one has to understand that teaching slaves to read was a no-no. Then you had to issue them Bibles. another no-no.
10/29/2006 9:03 pm (et) amhistoryguy: What I thought, thanks.10/29/2006 9:04 pm (et) MAubrecht: Then of course you had segregation in public venues. So Jackson's Sunday school was against many ordanances. Officially, I don't know if there was any "formal" crime broken.
10/29/2006 9:04 pm (et) MAubrecht: NJ...10/29/2006 9:05 pm (et) NJRebel: Two thoughts here. First, did Jackson and his wife ever catch any what we could call "flack" from their neighbors about their support of the colored Sunday school? Second, were there any other slave holders who thought and acted as Jackson did?
10/29/2006 9:07 pm (et) MAubrecht: There were more than you would think. I wasn't even aware of the extent of this until I read Richard's book which has a ton of quoted material. There were even descendants of slaves who joined early version of the UDC (United Daughters of the Confederacy) directly as a result of their ancestors efforts in regards to baptisms and faith teachings.10/29/2006 9:08 pm (et) MAubrecht: From what I have read... Jackson's own church was not warm to the idea at first, but after seeing the Jackson's example and especially his wife's work there, they embraced it.
10/29/2006 9:10 pm (et) MAubrecht: I believe that part of the church still stands and they have added special stained glass commemorating the original Jackson slave-school. Anymore questions on this topic?10/29/2006 9:13 pm (et) NJRebel: One more Michael. Did you answer whether Jackson and Anna received any ill treatment from their neitghbors over their support for and ministry of the Colored Sunday School?
10/29/2006 9:13 pm (et) MAubrecht: OK. I’ll take that as a no. Thanks again. Let’s head up north over the Mason Dixon Line and on to our next topic… NJ you had asked earlier about other commanders fighting with a “holy war” mentality. Here you go…10/29/2006 9:14 pm (et) MAubrecht: Sorry NJ. I have not read anything other than a general frown. I don't think they were threatened directly.
10/29/2006 9:14 pm (et) NJRebel: Ok Thanks!10/29/2006 9:14 pm (et) MAubrecht: However, that does not mean that it didn't happen. I think most people came around rather quickly.
10/29/2006 9:15 pm (et) MAubrecht: Alright... on to the Yankees. OLIVER HOWARD: BATTLEFIELD BELIEVER:10/29/2006 9:15 pm (et) MAubrecht: As a historian who “specializes” in the religious aspects of Civil War history, I have found that there are far fewer outward examples of spiritual zeal when examining the Union side. I’m sure most (if not all) of you have seen the Ron Maxwell films “Gettysburg” and “Gods and Generals.” Obviously “G&G” is a blatant example, but I would like to refer to a scene from “Gettysburg” in which General Longstreet is sharing a cup of tea(?) with their British observer and discussing the differences in their ideology.
10/29/2006 9:16 pm (et) MAubrecht: At one point, Longstreet makes a candid comment saying, “I reckon we whipped you British twice.” He then responds to the observer’s laughter and reply by saying something along the lines of “We Southerners like our generals to be like our preachers… religious, and a little mad.”10/29/2006 9:16 pm (et) MAubrecht: Although these lines are quoted from a Hollywood script and obviously inserted as conjecture, they are (IMO) very accurate. Without a doubt, 19th-Century Southerners were more openly religious than their northern counterparts. For instance, I pass no less than five, 1800’s-era churches on the way to work, and I only live a few miles away. This can also be seen in the way that they acknowledged their generals. In essence, both sides may have believed that their cause was the more righteous one – but the Confederacy REALLY believed that God was on their side and that the were soldiers in the “Army of the Lord.”
10/29/2006 9:17 pm (et) MAubrecht: This resulted in a strong feeling of loyalty from the Southern troops, and an admiration (even at times, an adoration that bordered on hero-worship) of the commanders that was not as prevalent in the North. For example, the Stonewall Brigade would have happily followed their beloved Stonewall Jackson straight into the pits of Hell if asked. I highly doubt that Burnsides, or even McClellan, would have had the same “blind” obedience in their ranks. (Although the Battle of Fredericksburg may disprove my theory there?) In the end, Southern generals were looked at as “gods,” while their Northern counterparts were mere mortals in the eyes of their troops.10/29/2006 9:18 pm (et) MAubrecht: One Yankee officer did fit the bill and could have just as easily been attending camp service in a different colored uniform – if not for politics, a strong opinion against slavery, and a sense of duty toward preserving the Union. That man was Oliver Howard, who personified the Christian Soldier. Even in battle Howard was as much a moral crusader as a warrior, insisting that his troops attend prayer and temperance meetings.
10/29/2006 9:20 pm (et) MAubrecht: In 1857, Howard was a full-time soldier who was deployed to Florida for the Seminole Wars. It was there that he experienced a conversion to evangelical Christianity and considered resigning from the army to become a minister. His religious proclivities would later earned him the nickname "the Christian general." On the outbreak of the American Civil War, Howard, an opponent of slavery, resigned his regular army commission and became colonel of the Third Maine Volunteers in the Union Army. Much like Jackson, Howard made spiritual strengthening a daily part of his troop’s regiments.10/29/2006 9:21 pm (et) MAubrecht: As the war progressed, a movement referred to as “The Great Revival” took place in the South. Beginning in the fall of 1863, this event was in full progress throughout the Army of Northern Virginia. Before the revival was interrupted by Grant's attack in May 1864, approximately seven thousand soldiers—10 percent of Lee's force—were reportedly converted. Dr. Gardiner H. Shattuck, Jr., author of “A Shield and Hiding Place: The Religious Life of the Civil War Armies,” reports that “The best estimates of conversions in the Union forces place the figure between 100,000 and 200,000 men—about 5-10 percent of all individuals engaged in the conflict. In the smaller Confederate armies, at least 100,000 were converted. Since these numbers include only “conversions” and do not represent the number of soldiers actually swept up in the revivals—a yet more substantial figure—the impact of revivals during the Civil War surely was tremendous.”
10/29/2006 9:22 pm (et) MAubrecht: According to some accounts, in the early stages of the war, revivals like the one Howard led were not the rule but the exception. Religion did not seem to have left home with the soldiers. The magazine “Christianity Today” recalled the trials and tribulations with living a Godly life while on campaign. It stated: “Day-to-day army life was so boring that men were often tempted to “make some foolishness,” as one soldier typified it. Profanity, gambling, drunkenness, sexual licentiousness, and petty thievery confronted those who wanted to practice their faith. Christians complained that no Sabbath was observed; despite the efforts of a few generals like George McClellan and Oliver O. Howard, ordinary routines went on as if Sunday meant nothing at all. General Robert McAllister, an officer who was working closely with the United States Christian Commission, complained that a “tide of irreligion” had rolled over his army “like a mighty wave.”10/29/2006 9:23 pm (et) MAubrecht: Unfortunately, Howard’s motivational efforts did not always transpire on the battlefield in the same manner that it did for Jackson’s brigades. At the Battle of Fair Oaks (June1862) he was wounded twice in the right arm. The second wound shattered his bone near the elbow. It was amputated, and Howard spent two months recovering from his wounds before coming back. He was also given the Medal of Honor as a result of his own gallantry.
10/29/2006 9:24 pm (et) MAubrecht: According to an August 1864 issue of “Harper’s Weekly”: “General HOWARD has lost his right arm in his country's service. It used to be a joke between him and KEARNEY, who had lost his left arm, that, as a matter of economy, they might purchase their gloves together.” One of Howard’s most significant moments (in the field) came at Gettysburg, where he assumed command of Reynolds troops after he was killed.10/29/2006 9:24 pm (et) MAubrecht: Most people are aware of that. After the war, he was appointed head of the Freedman's Bureau, which was designed to protect and assist the newly freed slaves. In this position, Howard quickly earned the contempt of white Southerners and many Northerners for his unapologetic support of black suffrage and his efforts to distribute land to African-Americans. He was also fearlessly candid about expressing his belief that the majority of white Southerners would be happy to see slavery restored. He even championed freedom and equality for former slaves in his private life, by working to make his elite Washington, D.C., church racially integrated and by helping to found an all-black college in the District of Columbia, which was soon named Howard University in his honor.
10/29/2006 9:25 pm (et) MAubrecht: Howard was also active in Indian engagements and subsequent relations in the West and is remembered as a man of his word and of strong moral convictions. As was quite common, many of the surviving commanders of the Civil War became “celebrities” in the public eye, and they often signed autographs. Howard routinely signed his “The Lord Is My Shepard.” Much like Jackson was in the South, Oliver “O” is to be credited for his evangelistic efforts on behalf of the North, in addition to his activism on behalf of all minorities living in the U.S. at the time.10/29/2006 9:26 pm (et) MAubrecht: Are there any questions or comments on "the Christian general"? XXXXXXXXX
10/29/2006 9:26 pm (et) ks: ?10/29/2006 9:26 pm (et) Basecat: ?
10/29/2006 9:27 pm (et) MAubrecht: ks... then Steve :)10/29/2006 9:27 pm (et) NJRebel: ?
10/29/2006 9:27 pm (et) ks: Just a comment. Delighted to see you mention Shattuck's work btw. :) Have read (in Gardiner H. Shattuck Jr.'s book on the Religious Life of the CW armies) that, prior to the 1850s, men who served in the army had been held in very low esteem among English-speaking Protestants. "They were considered so beneath contempt and such licentious, immoral rabble that their souls were hardly thought to merit saving." But by mid-century churchmen for the first time recognized the value of a "Christian" army as an effective fighting force and actually saw the armies as "seedbeds for religion, ready for missionaries to till." Fascinating reading about the revivals that took place in the field. And maybe you all knew that (about the army not being regarded as worth evangelizing prior to 1850s), but it was new info to me when I read the book. :) TJ recommended it to me MANY moons ago, back in WebAmerica days.10/29/2006 9:28 pm (et) MAubrecht: That is a great book. Steve? Then NJ...
10/29/2006 9:29 pm (et) Basecat: Mine is a comment. Little Macs soldiers were very devoted to him while he was in command, and many remained that way even after he was gone. What changed their perspectives on him was the platform he was part of when he ran for President in 1864. I agree that many commanders of the AoP did not have the full confidence of the soldiers, but in Little Macs case they did. :)10/29/2006 9:29 pm (et) MAubrecht: basecat?
10/29/2006 9:30 pm (et) MAubrecht: Please don't misunderstand, it was not my intent to say that the Union were not religious. I am speaking in terms of public persona and obvious religious fanaticism and zeal.10/29/2006 9:31 pm (et) NJRebel: Why would you say that religion among the Union troops was not as prevalent and where there other examples such as Howard's in the Union forces, but perhaps not as obvious?
10/29/2006 9:31 pm (et) Basecat: Not taken that way Michael, just feel using Little Mac as an example in terms of devotion is not the best choice. :)10/29/2006 9:32 pm (et) MAubrecht: Clearly the south's Generals were portrayed. Howard (to me) is the closest thing to a Jackson if that makes sense. I have yet to find another commander (at that level) who carried himself and his men like "Old Testament" warriors.
10/29/2006 9:32 pm (et) bluelady: I hope you all don't forget about E H Rhodes and how important he thought religion was not only to his regiment but to the Union cause.10/29/2006 9:33 pm (et) MAubrecht: He is a good example blue. Howard is more "obvious" of a choice. I guess. I have been asked repeatedly at book signings if I ever intend to write a Christian book on a Yankee general. If I do get around to such a project, Howard will certainly be my choice.
10/29/2006 9:34 pm (et) MAubrecht: Does that answer you too NJ?10/29/2006 9:34 pm (et) Basecat: Makes a lot of sense, and it is a fine comparison. Howard gets a bad rap, IMHO in terms of his bravery.
10/29/2006 9:35 pm (et) NJRebel: Michael, it does in a way... However, any reason why the Union forces were perceived as not being as religious as those in the South?10/29/2006 9:35 pm (et) MAubrecht: Yes Steve GREAT point too. Howard gets little credit. And especially for what he did after the war. I can think of no veteran who did more for minorities than Howard.
10/29/2006 9:36 pm (et) MAubrecht: I think its all perspective NJ.10/29/2006 9:36 pm (et) NJRebel: I will agree with you on that.
10/29/2006 9:37 pm (et) MAubrecht: The South was holding on to an ideology that was more traditional. The north represented change. Corporations, commerce - not bad things - but different things and change was a threat.10/29/2006 9:37 pm (et) MAubrecht: Also - remember I'm in Fredericksburg and my perspective is very southern influenced.
10/29/2006 9:38 pm (et) MAubrecht: What they perceive here is probably different from someone in Boston for example.10/29/2006 9:38 pm (et) MAubrecht: Although neither is any less spiritual than the other.
10/29/2006 9:38 pm (et) Basecat: ?10/29/2006 9:38 pm (et) MAubrecht: Yes base..
10/29/2006 9:39 pm (et) Basecat: In terms of the North Michael, you hit it right on the head. The two Cs...Corporations and Commerce...that was more of a focus up North at that time, IMHO.10/29/2006 9:40 pm (et) NJRebel: ?
10/29/2006 9:40 pm (et) MAubrecht: Yes NJ10/29/2006 9:41 pm (et) NJRebel: Corporations and commerce...how much of a threat in terms of religious viewpoint were those two areas seen in the South?
10/29/2006 9:42 pm (et) MAubrecht: I think (and just my own opinion) that those institutions were viewed as pathways to greed.10/29/2006 9:42 pm (et) MAubrecht: Money being a root of evil and unGodly lifestyles.
10/29/2006 9:43 pm (et) MAubrecht: I think the South (strictly in religious terms) looked at the movement toward a more industrial and secular society as a threat. In some ways - just like the Middle East looks at our Western culture.10/29/2006 9:43 pm (et) NJRebel: Good point, Michael. Thanks.
10/29/2006 9:44 pm (et) MAubrecht: More great stuff. Thanks again... moving on.10/29/2006 9:44 pm (et) MAubrecht: FATHER CORBY, PRIEST OF THE IRISH BRIGADE:
10/29/2006 9:44 pm (et) MAubrecht: As a former Catholic - turned Presbyterian, this subject is a familiar favorite of mine. Those of you that attended last year’s muster at Gettysburg must surely remember the famous Pennsylvania Monument. You may have also noticed a much smaller statue – about 100 or so yards away – on the interior side of the road – opposite the battlefield. The simple sculpture depicts the likeness of a stately, bearded man, holding the Good Book in one hand, and raising his other in an absolution gesture. This is the Statue of Father Corby, the Catholic chaplain (or priest) of the famous Irish Brigade and later, the president of Notre Dame University.10/29/2006 9:45 pm (et) MAubrecht: Now for those of you that are not familiar with Catholic doctrine, one of the most important duties that a priest administers is the act of “Last Rights,” which is a form of absolution that is given to a dying person. In time of war, this provides a huge problem as men obviously fall on the battlefield without having a priest nearby.
10/29/2006 9:45 pm (et) MAubrecht: In order to “compensate” for this absence, Catholic chaplains would perform a “universal” form of this prior to the battle. Much like their Protestant peers, the Catholics would gather together on the eve of (or hours before) an anticipated engagement, but their ceremony would include a “Last Rights” that would “cover them” in the case that they were killed.10/29/2006 9:46 pm (et) MAubrecht: This “Mass” was extremely important to brigades that were made up of immigrants such as the Irish and German contingencies. Perhaps the most famous of these was “The Irish Brigade,” who “deployed” with Father William Corby. On “The American Civil War” website, they describe his invaluable service: “For many Civil War soldiers, both North and South, religion served to provide hope and meaning given what they endured during this bloody, violent conflict. When possible, men of the church would take an active role in lending such to the troops both during times of idleness and of combat.”
10/29/2006 9:47 pm (et) MAubrecht: They add, “The Reverend Father William Corby, chaplain to the Union's Irish Brigade among others, extended general absolution to all soldiers, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. He was also known to administer last rights to the dying on the field while under fire. Prior to the conflict in the Wheatfield on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, he offered general absolution to the Irish Brigade. Despite the loss of 506 of their men during that day’s battle, one soldier stated that, because of Father Corby, "He felt as strong as a lion after that and felt no fear although his comrade was shot down beside him." Not the only example of heroism by people of the clergy, Chaplain William Hoge ignored the Union Blockade to bring Bibles to Southern soldiers.”10/29/2006 9:48 pm (et) MAubrecht: Father Corby was born in Detroit on October 2, 1833 to Daniel, a native of King's County, Ireland and Elizabeth, a citizen of Canada. Daniel became a prominent real estate dealer and one of the wealthiest landed proprietors in the country. He helped to found many Detroit parishes and aided in the building of many churches. His son William was educated in the common schools until he was sixteen and then joined his father's business for four years. Realizing that William had a calling to the priesthood and a desire to go to college, Daniel sent him and his two younger brothers to the ten year old "university" of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. The Congregation of the Holy Cross staffed the school then, as now.
10/29/2006 9:49 pm (et) MAubrecht: After graduation, Corby returned to the school as a faculty member. During the Civil War, he volunteered his services as a chaplain in the Union Army at the request of Father Sorin, who was the Superior-General of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. Corby resigned his professorship at Notre Dame and was assigned as chaplain to the 88th New York Volunteer Infantry in the famed Irish Brigade of Thomas Francis Meagher. It has been written that he boarded the train with a song on his lips – singing “I'll hang my harp on a willow tree. I'm off to the wars again: A peaceful home has no charm for me. The battlefield no pain”10/29/2006 9:50 pm (et) MAubrecht: For the next three years, Father Corby ministered to the troops with great enthusiasm. This made him popular with the men. According to the Catholic Cultural Society, “Chaplains, like officers, won the common soldiers' respect with their bravery under fire. Father Corby's willingness to share the hardships of the men with a light-hearted attitude and his calm heroism in bringing spiritual and physical comfort to men in the thick of the fighting won him the esteem and the friendship of the men he served. Frequently under fire, Corby moved among casualties on the field, giving assistance to the wounded and absolution to the dying. For days after the battles, he inhabited the field hospitals to bring comfort to men in pain."
10/29/2006 9:50 pm (et) MAubrecht: Known for their glorious (and disastrous) charge here at Fredericksburg, the Irish Brigade also made a gallant stand at Gettysburg, where their priest has been forever memorialized. The CCS recalls this as the defining moment for BOTH the brigade and their chaplain: “Before the Brigade engaged the Confederate soldiers at a wheat field just south of Gettysburg, Father William Corby, in a singular event that lives in the history of the Civil War, addressed the troops. Placing his purple stole around his neck, Corby climbed atop a large boulder and offered absolution to the entire unit, a ceremony never before performed in America. Kohl, editor of Corby's memoirs, tells us that Father Corby sternly reminded the soldiers of their duties, warning that the Church would deny Christian burial to any who wavered and did not uphold the flag. The members of the Brigade were admonished to confess their sins in the correct manner at their earliest opportunity.”10/29/2006 9:52 pm (et) MAubrecht: With their sins forgiven, the Irish Brigade plunged into battle and they were met with a massive volley of fire from the Confederate soldiers. At the end of the day, 198 of the men whom Father Corby had blessed had been killed. A tragedy? Yes. But it was dulled by the fact that the departed heroes had been absolved and blessed prior to the engagement. This surely made the family and friends of the dead, a little less sad, knowing that their loved ones were to be accepted into the Kingdom. Therefore (IMO) Father Corby’s presence was invaluable and a great comfort to all who attended his services. He is perhaps, the most famous and revered Catholic priest of the entire Civil War.
10/29/2006 9:53 pm (et) MAubrecht: After the war, in 1865, Father Corby returned to Notre Dame where he was made vice president. Within a year, Corby was named president. At the end of his term at Notre Dame 1872, Father Corby was sent to Sacred Heart College. He returned to Notre Dame as president in 1877 where he became known as the "Second Founder of Notre Dame" for his successful effort to rebuild the campus following a fire. Later he became Assistant General for the worldwide order.10/29/2006 9:53 pm (et) MAubrecht: Father Corby wrote a book of his recollections, entitled “Memoirs of Chaplain Life.” He stated, "Oh, you of a younger generation, think of what it cost our forefathers to save our glorious inheritance of union and liberty! If you let it slip from your hands you will deserve to be branded as ungrateful cowards and undutiful sons. But, no! You will not fail to cherish the prize-- it is too sacred a trust-- too dearly purchased.”
10/29/2006 9:54 pm (et) MAubrecht: He died in 1897, and as he was being buried, surviving veterans of the Grand Army Of The Republic are said to have sang this song: “Answering the call of roll on high. Dropping from the ranks as they make reply. Filling up the army of the by and by.” Are there any questions or comments on the great Father Corby? XXXXXXXXX10/29/2006 9:54 pm (et) Basecat: ? comment here.
10/29/2006 9:54 pm (et) amhistoryguy: ?10/29/2006 9:54 pm (et) MAubrecht: base comment? then am...
10/29/2006 9:55 pm (et) NJRebel: ?10/29/2006 9:56 pm (et) Basecat: As one who has been to the campus of Notre Dame, Father Corby is still highly remembered there. Not sure if all know, but an exact replica of the statue at Gettysburg stands there on the campus as well. Folks may talk about Touchdown Jesus, but when I think of Notre Dame, I think of Father Corby.
10/29/2006 9:57 pm (et) MAubrecht: Thanks Steve. I did not know that. am? - then NJ...10/29/2006 9:57 pm (et) amhistoryguy: A duplicate of the Father Corby statue at Gettysburg, stands at Notre Dame, often referred to lovingly as "Fair Catch Corby."
10/29/2006 9:58 pm (et) Basecat: :) Had forgotten the nickname amhg..:)10/29/2006 9:58 pm (et) NJRebel: Not so much a question here Michael but a general comment about your earlier reference to the Last Rites and what Corby did... IIRC it is referred to as a Conditional General Absolution.
10/29/2006 9:59 pm (et) MAubrecht: Yes you are correct. They still do that today. I have spoken about it with a couple Marine Chaplains here at Quantico.10/29/2006 10:00 pm (et) MAubrecht: In Iraq, they often hold a brief ceremony w/ Catholic troops before patrols.
10/29/2006 10:00 pm (et) NJRebel: For your info Michael...also a former Catholic here, but now Methodist......Are you aware of the Troiani painting showing Corby at Antietam?10/29/2006 10:00 pm (et) MAubrecht: Corby was the first, but this practice has been adapted in every war since then.
10/29/2006 10:00 pm (et) ks: ? more RC commentary10/29/2006 10:01 pm (et) MAubrecht: You remember the chaplain scenes in films like Band Of Brothers. Yes ks?
10/29/2006 10:01 pm (et) ks: Roman Catholic commentary on the "Last Rights"...That's a term not used much these days. The sacrament of anointing a critically ill or weak person, with prayers for recovery and an act of penance or confession, The "Anointing of the Sick" is what takes places now. It replaced the sacramental rite of Extreme Unction in 1972.10/29/2006 10:02 pm (et) MAubrecht: Thanks ks. I think in terms of military deployments - they use the term blessing and anointing - not last rights - too negative I would assume.
10/29/2006 10:03 pm (et) ks: Probably10/29/2006 10:03 pm (et) NJRebel: ? re Corby....
10/29/2006 10:03 pm (et) MAubrecht: Yes NJ10/29/2006 10:04 pm (et) NJRebel: Are you familiar with the Troiani painting of the Irish Brigade at Antietam? Corby is right there in front blessing/absolving the men of the Brigade with Meagher in the left back foreground?
10/29/2006 10:05 pm (et) MAubrecht: Yes I have seen that piece. Triani is great. I have 2 Kunstlers downstairs in my dining room.10/29/2006 10:05 pm (et) MAubrecht: Its getting a tad late, I have one shorter topic and then we’ll do the TRIVIA CONTEST and I’ll stay on to discuss anything that you want.
10/29/2006 10:06 pm (et) NJRebel: What i find interesting about that painting is that Corby is doing what he is doing under Confederate fire.10/29/2006 10:06 pm (et) MAubrecht: The last subject that I would like to briefly share with you tonight deals with the good and bad of religion in war. I have strived above to present 4 uplifting subjects, but there is also a “darker-side” to faith, and negative repercussions that can result from it. I like to call this: THE DOUBLE-EDGE SWORD OF THEOLOGY. This is more of an opinion piece and I don’t want to preach or get political. However, it plays a part in our conversation and should be addressed.
10/29/2006 10:06 pm (et) MAubrecht: I did a Q&A with “The Free Lance-Star” that dealt with this specific topic. Over the course of the interview I was asked to correlate the roles of religion “then vs. now” and what the “pros and cons” are. The article was entitled “Religion, war can be a risky combination” and was penned by a great reporter (and co-worker) named Michael Zitz. I will be quoting him throughout this section, but in the effort to save time, I’ll be mixing him and me – instead of quoting everything separately.10/29/2006 10:07 pm (et) MAubrecht: Faith and fearlessness are admirable traits, but they also can be dangerous. Historically, religion has always played a part in every major conflict, whether for good or evil. The GOOD is that faith in one's God can provide a great sense of strength and comfort to soldiers and civilians. The BAD is that it can also be distorted for the justification of aggression and atrocity. Simply stated, it can be a blessing as well as a danger.
10/29/2006 10:07 pm (et) MAubrecht: I think that it’s pretty fair to say that both the acts of religion and war should always be practiced for the betterment of mankind. Unfortunately, sometimes it backfires. My own definition of 'human nature' includes mankind's “innate ability to foul things up. I think one of our most important tasks is to learn from our own mistakes." In essence, the role of religion in the Civil War (IMO) directly impacted the events that were witnessed - both good and bad.10/29/2006 10:08 pm (et) MAubrecht: In regards to Stonewall Jackson, the strength of his faith, and his belief in Presbyterian doctrine that states that our deaths are predestined, played a role in how he conducted himself on the battlefield. This resulted in both triumph and tragedy. He himself repeatedly stated, “My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time of my death." He added, “I do not concern myself about that, but to always be ready, no matter when it may overtake me.” This (IMO) is a wonderful way to live, but I see it as being somewhat problematic in a war zone.
10/29/2006 10:09 pm (et) MAubrecht: The belief that his time of death was already determined, enabled him to stand, unflinchingly, amid the chaos on the battlefield (often, it inspired his troops to achieve victory against all odds), but in another way, this "divine inspiration" was self-destructive and contributed greatly to Jackson's untimely demise. He also may have felt protected as he stated, “Our God was my shield. His protecting care is an additional cause for gratitude.”10/29/2006 10:09 pm (et) MAubrecht: In other words, his feeling of invincibility (as a soldier for the Lord), combined with no logical fear of death (on the battlefield) made him incredibly courageous, and a little careless at times. I consider Jackson as similar to George Patton in some respects. He was a ferocious warrior who preached the swift and total destruction of the enemy. Although he took no pleasure in waging war, he believed that the quickest way to end a conflict was to give no quarter to the enemy. He urged his superiors to attack when at all possible and his intentions were to cripple the opposition into surrender.
10/29/2006 10:10 pm (et) MAubrecht: Faith made him somewhat cautious, as he often depended on prayer when making decisions, but it also made him careless, as it instilled a false-sense of security at times. This (IMO) may have played a role in his accident at Chancellorsville. The bottom line is that a commander of his ranking should not have been anywhere on the field where he might be susceptible to “friendly-fire” - or any fire for that matter. By putting himself in harm’s way, Jackson unwillingly jeopardized the entire command.10/29/2006 10:10 pm (et) MAubrecht: Now, this “casual” attitude may have been due to a feeling of providence that Jackson often boasted of – and after reading piles of post-war transcripts, I have come to the conclusion that his staff believed it too. This goes back to the “hero-worship” syndrome that may have clouded all of their judgment. That is what makes his accidental wounding so ironic – and sad. A man so loved by his troops – ultimately “killed” by his troops (pneumonia finished him off).
10/29/2006 10:11 pm (et) MAubrecht: Still, it is this historian’s firm opinion that Thomas Jackson was a great man and that religion was THE foundation for what made him such a brilliant and fearless leader. I would not have published an entire book on the subject if I didn’t think that Christianity was the cornerstone in the foundation of what made “Stonewall” a “stone wall”. He lived every day for the fulfillment of his duty. In the end, perhaps this Christian soldier's biggest victory was not in defeating his foes on the battlefield, but in convincing others to serve both God and country. Ironically, Christianity may have also played a role in his death as it made him feel “untouchable.”10/29/2006 10:12 pm (et) MAubrecht: That is why I refer to faith as a “double-edged” sword in times of war. Religion can bring comfort to those left at home, and those deployed abroad. It can inspire the brave to be braver, instill a sense of mercy for those you oppose, and spread a renewed lifestyle to one who was previously unfamiliar with the teaching of Christ.
10/29/2006 10:12 pm (et) MAubrecht: BUT… it can be used to spread evil ideology, inflame division, and justify acts of atrocity. It can also be perverted, or politically skewed, for the recruitment and execution of an unrighteous cause. We have seen this before, and we still see it today. Holy Wars are rarely “holy” at all.10/29/2006 10:12 pm (et) MAubrecht: In regards to America’s Civil War, I think that religion played a more positive than negative role.
10/29/2006 10:12 pm (et) MAubrecht: Although the period represented one of the darkest times in our country’s history, it also witnessed a great revival and later, the positive healing power of faith. That is why I have dedicated my writing career to studying and presenting it as I think we can all learn by these believer’s examples, regardless of the color of their uniform. We should all strive to share the stories of their faith, sacrifice, and glory for future generations. They certainly earned it.10/29/2006 10:13 pm (et) MAubrecht: May God bless ALL of them.
10/29/2006 10:13 pm (et) MAubrecht: Also, in closing, I wanted to add that there is a new museum that is being established by Liberty University that will focus specifically on the religious aspects of the war…10/29/2006 10:13 pm (et) MAubrecht: It is called The National Civil War Chaplains Research Center and Museum Foundation announces the establishment of The National Civil War Chaplain’s Research Center and Museum. The mission of the National Civil War Chaplains Research Center and Museum is to educate the public about the role of chaplains and religious organizations in the Civil War; to promote the continuing study of the many methods of dissemination of religious doctrine and moral teachings during the War; to preserve religious artifacts; and to present interpretive programs that show the influence of religion on the lives of political and military personnel. I’ll be sharing more on this project as it progresses and you can read about it over on my blog…
10/29/2006 10:14 pm (et) MAubrecht: I thank you all, and I’d like to post the TRIVIA QUESTION now, and after that we can chat about whatever you like. The first person to email the correct answer to me at StlrsFan1@aol.com will get the books. I’ll reply to the winner later to get a mailing address. Here we go. Good luck.10/29/2006 10:15 pm (et) MAubrecht: WHAT INSPIRED QUOTE FROM THOMAS JACKSON is inscribed over the Jackson Arch entrance to the present-day VMI Barracks? (Hint: This particular principle is attributed to the Reverend Joel Hawes and first appeared in an 1851 work, “Letters to Young Men, on the Formation of Character”)
10/29/2006 10:15 pm (et) MAubrecht: Congrats in advance to the winner. Ok. I’m finished. Any thoughts, questions comments? XXXXXXXXX10/29/2006 10:15 pm (et) ks: Another MODERATOR'S note...this one to YOU, Michael. ;) Next time you send me an advance text copy, don't give me the trivia question and answer. That way *I* can play. ;) BTW great job!
10/29/2006 10:15 pm (et) ks: ?10/29/2006 10:16 pm (et) MAubrecht: hahaha! I forgot about that...
10/29/2006 10:16 pm (et) MAubrecht: yes your question ks.10/29/2006 10:16 pm (et) amhistoryguy: ?
10/29/2006 10:16 pm (et) ks: Notice how I'm presuming there will be a NEXT time. ;)10/29/2006 10:17 pm (et) MAubrecht: Great question.
I'm not one to typically delve into "what ifs", but this one interest me. You stated earlier about Jackson seeing the CW as a "holy war". How do you think he might have responded to the LOSS of that holy war? Of course I realize some might state that they'd possibly not have lost had Jackson lived. Let's not make that the premise for this question. :) What's your considered opinion on how Jackson would have responded to the loss of the war?
10/29/2006 10:19 pm (et) MAubrecht: My latest project is called Nathan Bedford Forrest: Saint & Sinner." Its more dark and edgy and I have started to look at my first 2 subjects Jackson and Stuart - and wondered how they would have dealt with defeat. Not well I think. I believe he would have come around (I mean even Jubal Early did eventually) but he would not have embraced unity w/ the north. At least initially. And I believe he would have tried to have talked Lee out of surrender.10/29/2006 10:20 pm (et) ks: I tend to believe that as well about him trying to talk Lee out of surrender.
10/29/2006 10:20 pm (et) MAubrecht: am?10/29/2006 10:21 pm (et) amhistoryguy: While religion certainly played a huge part in the war, secession and war also seems to have in some ways divided religion too. The division of the country was mirrored within a number of religions as well, was it not? Otherwise would not have religion attempted to end the war.
10/29/2006 10:22 pm (et) Basecat: ?10/29/2006 10:22 pm (et) MAubrecht: I think that unlike today. religion was entrenched in every aspect of 19th-century society. It had to be considered in all decisions. I haven't studied divisions within denominations and that could be a great topic. I will say that many of them probably looked at their neighbors as equals in the church regardless of political affiliations (just a guess).
10/29/2006 10:23 pm (et) NJRebel: ?10/29/2006 10:23 pm (et) MAubrecht: basecat... then NJ.
10/29/2006 10:24 pm (et) Basecat: Michael...First off fine chat. It's a topic that really is not delved into as much as it should when dealing with the Civil War. Have read Woodworth's book on Religion during the war, and would like to know if you recommend any other titles that deals with this aspect of the war?10/29/2006 10:25 pm (et) MAubrecht: Yes absolutely. First, Richard Williams book that I mentioned above "Stonewall Jackson: The Black Man's Friend" - great book soon to be released as a great movie.
10/29/2006 10:26 pm (et) NJRebel: Re your comment about religions and the denominations... from what little I have researched, I think you will find the splits start denominationally about fifteen years prior to 1860.10/29/2006 10:26 pm (et) MAubrecht: Christ in the Camp is another good one... and...
10/29/2006 10:26 pm (et) mobile_96: ?10/29/2006 10:27 pm (et) MAubrecht: NJ - there were splits from the colonial period on... it seems that politics infiltrated even the New World's churches as they had back in England. Yes mobile...
10/29/2006 10:28 pm (et) mobile_96: Did you find denominations split politically?10/29/2006 10:29 pm (et) MAubrecht: I think that many split on social issues more than anything.
10/29/2006 10:30 pm (et) MAubrecht: But like I said, I have yet to study that. What a fantastic topic though.10/29/2006 10:30 pm (et) MAubrecht: I can say that I have studied the Presbyterian church and they have had divisions over politics and social issues - and I fear that they are not done.
10/29/2006 10:31 pm (et) MAubrecht: Anyone else?10/29/2006 10:31 pm (et) MAubrecht: Once again, I would like to thank ks, and shotgun, and basecat for inviting me to speak here tonight. I had a great time and hope that we can do it again. Perhaps next time I’ll show you a side of JEB Stuart that you may not be aware of – his spiritual one. Thanks again. Will this still be up tomorrow ks. I’d like to read it and mention it on my website at: http://www.pinstripepress.net (see how I shamelessly plugged my site.)
10/29/2006 10:33 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Thank you MAubrecht10/29/2006 10:33 pm (et) mobile_96: And I thank you also.
10/29/2006 10:33 pm (et) ks: Thank YOU, Michael. It's impressive to hold people's interest through 2.5 or so hours. Your work and enthusiasm for the subject is obvious.10/29/2006 10:33 pm (et) NJRebel: Michael, great and informative....looking forward to more chats
10/29/2006 10:33 pm (et) MAubrecht: You are most welcome. And I didn't mean to cut anyone off. I just saw a pause and looked at the clock. I can stay. Oh and congrats basecat on winning the trivia question!10/29/2006 10:34 pm (et) Vickie: Thank you MAubrecht.
10/29/2006 10:34 pm (et) ks: LOL! bluelady's the trivia queen, but logged off in time to give you a chance, Basecat. :-D10/29/2006 10:34 pm (et) Basecat: Michael...THANK You. Very informative and interesting chat.
10/29/2006 10:34 pm (et) MAubrecht: Thanks Vickie my pleasure.10/29/2006 10:35 pm (et) Basecat: I guess I resolved to be the trivia winner I knew I could be...LOL..;)
10/29/2006 10:35 pm (et) MAubrecht: Thanks Steve - I email you on the books. I'll personalize them for ya.10/29/2006 10:35 pm (et) ks: At one point as there were many questions I even wondered if we should have continued proceeding with all you'd prepared for tonight. No matter how interesting the topic, you can only expect to hold people at the screen for a limited amount of time IMO.
10/29/2006 10:35 pm (et) mobile_96: Good thing you had Faith in yourself Base.10/29/2006 10:36 pm (et) MAubrecht: haha - nice... the answer was: "You may be whatever you resolve to be".
10/29/2006 10:36 pm (et) ks: Let me quickly add, glad you forged ahead. Worked out well.10/29/2006 10:36 pm (et) MAubrecht: I think now that I have one under my belt - perhaps the next time (as I invite myself) I'll do 3 topics with more time to chat back and forth. 10 pages of material is a bit much.
10/29/2006 10:37 pm (et) Basecat: Mobile...IIRC, that was number one in Stonewalls famous book of maxims...10/29/2006 10:37 pm (et) ks: Agreed. And as for inviting yourself, believe I already mentioned "next" time in my comments. ;)
10/29/2006 10:39 pm (et) MAubrecht: Well I have to say that I have had a wonderful time and look forward to doing this again. Also looking forward to some of you guys/gals doing one. I know there is more knowledge in this chatroom than in most classrooms.10/29/2006 10:41 pm (et) MAubrecht: Have a great evening all. Good night.
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