The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

SEICWRT Hears About Faith and Religion During The Civil War

by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner

Pastor JudyAnn Morse of the Community of Christ Church at the top of Burlington's Snake Alley, was guest speaker at the Southeast Iowa Civil War Roundtable Thursday evening. Her topic was "The Importance Of Religion During The Civil War".

Pastor Morse said as a pastor, at times her job was overwhelming, but after studying the list of duties of a chaplin during the Civil War, "my job pales in comparison".

Civil War letters have revealed frequent expressions of religious faith yet few books have been written about faith during that time. Most comments had been omitted by the Burns brothers who have written Civil War documentaries. It was even more unusual as it was during a period of religious revivals which influenced many serving.

Pastor Morse said filling that void admirably was the Texas Christian Professor of History Steven E. Woodworth. His book was based on extensive research of letters, diaries, and memoirs of Union and Confederate troops.

Most of the three million who fought this bloody war went into battle with more than a passing acquaintance with God, and were prepared to suffer along with Christ and perhaps become one of the 600,000 who paid the ultimate.

We are grateful for the many clergy who answered the call and ministered to them.

"At least 2387 men and 1 woman served as Chaplains in the Union army and 1303 served the Confederates. Over 150,000 were baptized or were rededicated, and there were 100,000 new conversions with equal or greater numbers in the Union Army. "Chaplains were the firewall between the horrors of war and despair."

Afterwards where division remained in the church, a former chaplin stood and said: "If you think God is going to divide heaven to keep you folks separated like you are today, you are mistaken!"

I want to see you brethern shake hands and end the Civil War once and for all! We have more important things to attend to."