Soldiers of the Cross: Confederate Soldier-Christians and the Impact of War on their Faith
Kent T. Dollar
From the publisher:
This book is about war’s impact on the religious faith of individual Confederate Christian soldiers. The tribulations of war drove these men to new spiritual heights; and after the war, these men took up leadership positions in their postwar churches. This study closely traces the spiritual progression of individual Christian soldiers.
Thousands of Southern Christians enlisted in the rebel armies when the Civil War began, and tens of thousands of battle-hardened fighting men made wartime professions of faith. On the whole, these soldiers became more religious as the war progressed, but what was the long-term effect of four years of war and defeat on the faith of Christian soldiers? The stories of the nine individuals studied in this book vividly illustrate the impact of the Civil War on faith. This study includes an examination of the antebellum, wartime, and in most cases, postwar lives of these men who represent a cross-section of Southern society, Southern religion, and the Confederate military. The tribulations of war drove them to new spiritual heights and greater maturity. Early on as well as throughout the war, these steadfast Christians read their Bibles, associated with other Christian soldiers, attended religious services, and communed privately with God. During times of increased military activity, the threat of death and concern for loved ones crowded the soldiers’ minds. The realization that they had little control over these matters moved these men to rely on God to protect them and their families; and God proved faithful, thus strengthening their trust in Him. Furthermore, these men grew in their emulation of the virtues of Christ. Not only did they become more spiritually inded, but also their worship took on new significance, they exhibited more humility, and they sought to serve God more actively. It was during the postwar era, however, that these Christian veterans fulfilled formal roles as the Lord’s servants. The men in this study who survived the war returned home and took up leadership positions in their local churches, where they served faithfully until their deaths.