On the morning of a battle near Harper’s Ferry, after a sermon by one of his chaplains, Stonewall Jackson, who was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, administered the sacrament to the church members in his army. He invited all Christians to participate in the ceremony. A Baptist, the straitest of his sect, thoroughly imbued with the idea of close communion, was seen to hesitate; but the occasion, and the man who presided, overcame his scruples; and thus it has happened that the prospect of a fight and the eloquence of Jackson made a Baptist forget that baptism is the door into the church. In all Jackson’s army an oath was rarely uttered. A religious enthusiasm pervaded it, which made every man a hero. Conscious of the justice of his cause, and imbued with the strongest convictions of patriotism, his men were irresistible. In this incident we have an explanation of General Jackson’s invincibility; and we are thus enabled to understand why his men were heroes, and why they endured without a murmur the severest hardships to which any troops were subjected during the war.
Originally posted 2009-07-24 17:24:56.