With the beginning of the war in 1861, Baptists in the South rallied to the Confederate cause. The Home Mission Board appointed numerous chaplains to serve the Rebel ranks. About 620,000 soldiers died during the struggle, with the Confederacy losing 260,000 troops. The conflict changed the Southern way of life. It ended the scourge of slavery and shaped regional differences and the church for decades to come.
This was actually a work-related tour in connection with my wife's forthcoming book on the subject of religion and the common soldier in the Army of Tennessee, C.S.A.. To supplement what I already knew from reading Traci's manuscript, I wanted to learn more about how Baptist leaders and clergy throughout the South were affected by the Civil War. This exhibit helped me tremendously in this regard. Taffey Hall was also very kind to offer some images from the SBHLA collection for use in Traci's book, so this was a very productive trip. I'll have more updates on this project in the very near future as we move closer to publication.
Back to the exhibit... Here are a few photos of some of the artifacts on display at the SBHLA. You can click on each image to get a larger view. The exhibit is open to the public, and the SBHLA is open to researchers. If you find yourself in the downtown Nashville area and are interested in learning more about this part of Civil War history, I would encourage you to stop by the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives and check it out.
|"Recollections of Confederate scout service written half a century later" by James B. Gambrell - SBHLA Collection|
|"Domestic Slavery As A Scriptural Institution" - SBHLA Collection|
|A display of Confederate artifacts - SBHLA Collection|
|A letter from Abby Gwathney, Richmond, to her parents, April 14, 1862. SBHLA Collection|
|Letter from Basil Manly, Jr. to his parents, Basil Manly, Sr., July 23, 1863 - Manly Family Papers, SBHLA Collection|
|A letter from Reuben Jones, a Virginia Baptist minister and pastor of the Shoulder's Hill Baptist Church - SBHLA Collection|
Additional Reading from Amazon.com:
- Chaplain to the Confederacy: Basil Manly and Baptist Life in the Old South (Southern Biography)
- God's Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War (Littlefield History of the Civil War Era)
- The Spirit Divided: Memoirs of Civil War Chaplains: The Confederacy
- "God Ordained This War": Sermons on the Sectional Crisis, 1830-1865
- Faith in the Fight: Religion and the American Soldier in the Great War