Friday, May 28, 2010

More Revival News!

Vicki Betts kindly sent me this week a newspaper article that she transcribed about missionary work in Walker’s Texas Division in the summer of 1864. It fits so well with my last posting, that with her permission I have posted the article:

GALVESTON WEEKLY NEWS, August 8, 1864, p. 1, c. 2

Walker's Division, Waterhouse's Brigade,
17th Regt. Inf. Camp Fiacon, La., July 12, '64.

Ed. News.—I desire, through the columns of your invaluable paper, to convey to our friends, some information of our "whereabouts," health and condition.

At present this brigade is in camp on Bayou Fiacan, about 15 miles East of Alexandria. Our time is principally occupied in drilling, grumbling about poor beef and furloughs. The general health of the troops is very good, better than it has been for several months, but they are poorly clad, many of them are without necessary articles of raiment, others have on their only suit. To remedy this, several officers from the different brigades have been detailed to go to Texas to procure clothing, with what success is yet to be seen. But probably the most important item of news with us at this time, is a revival of religion now in progress under the supervision of Elder W. A. Mason, Missionary to the army from the Baptist State Convention. He arrived in this brigade about the 4th May last, and was welcomed by a hearty reception from the soldiers. Since that time he has been laboring night and day with much zeal and fervency, doing much good, and receiving many souls for his hire. The meeting has been progressing several weeks, and some twenty five or thirty have confessed and put on Christ in Baptism.

Elder Mason has also organized the "Christian Association of Waterhouse's Brigade," composed of the members of the different denominations, who, laying aside all sectarian prejudices, have convened at the altar to worship God, and do all they can for the promotion of the much neglected cause of Christ. Committees are appointed from the different regiments, whose duties are to visit the sick and procure every possible comfort for them. Its works, up to this time, promise much good.

Elder Mason has had no assistance whatever, indeed, the soldiers have been much neglected, there having been only one chaplain in the brigade—Elder Hay, who has no superior as a chaplain. He has been promoted to the rank of Brigade Chaplain for his gallantry on the field at the late battles, and for his attention to and efforts in behalf of the sick and wounded. He is now absent trying to procure clothing for his old regiment, the 16th.

Elder Mason is, by resolution of our association, an authorized agent to procure religious literature for the army, which is very much needed and desired. Any one having pocket Testaments, hymn books, or any other benefit for the sick and wounded, which they can spare, and wish to contribute, will confer much good, and for which many soldiers will thank them, by sending them to Elder Mason, who will soon return to Texas for the purpose above named, and to attend the Baptist State Convention.

Most respectfully, I remain your obd't serv't,
B., Co. A, 17th Regt. Inft.

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