WHAT YOU PROBABLY DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS DURING
THE CIVIL WAR
The rest of the story
Anyone who’s ever visited a campground (one of the “primitive” ones, without modern conveniences of any shape or form) can readily imagine what life must have been like for a soldier in the 1860's. Between battles, and especially during the long interval between winter and spring, the men had a lot of time on their hands. Even if an industrious commander kept them busy drilling, digging trenches or performing various chores, long hours of unremitting boredom yawned before them.
For the first months of the war, this free time was reportedly spent on such “wicked pursuits” as gambling, playing cards, consuming liquor in astonishing quantities and, and in some cases, visiting houses of ill repute. Most people interested in the Civil War have read books or seen documentaries describing the mayhem that went on in many of the camps.
But there is something that hasn’t been widely reported, and without it the true story of the Civil War has not been told. As stated in Bennett's excellent narrative: “… there is one aspect of the war, on the Southern side, which has been almost wholly overlooked by statesmen and politicians…its religious aspect.”
What the South believed
Perhaps it should be established, first of all, how the South perceived itself during the period of the Civil War. While the North saw the Southern states as rebellious, traitorous and guilty of gross immorality (because of slavery), prominent church leaders of the South, of many differing denominations, came together to sign a proclamation they called an “Address to Christians Throughout the World”. Among the points made in this document are that the war was forced upon the South, that the Southern states withdrew from the Union purely in an effort to secure peace, and that the North had then sent troops to force them into submission.
The address goes on to cite Biblical references to servant-master relationships. Slaves, the writers claim, were loved and cared for in sickness and old age, and above all: “The South has done more than any people on earth for the Christianization of the African race.” In fact, the Confederates were the first to have a black chaplain ministering to white troops. (Pitts)
Although this may seem overly simplistic to modern readers (and though it fails to take into account the reality of abusive slave-owners), journals written during the period reflect the same sentiments. The words of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy,
Copyright © 2016 Debra Diaz