Sunday, December 2, 2012
There are tales of Chaplain Jones having holes cut in ice-covered ponds; baptisms in clear view of enemy pickets and videttes, and baptisms under fire, with some of those participating being wounded.
During the revival, Jones told of how Confederate soldiers would form “reading clubs,” in which soldiers would pass around a well-worn Bible, sharing the Gospel. Always hungry for scarce Testaments and religious tracts, the soldiers would see Jones approaching camp and cry out “Yonder comes the Bible and Tract man!” and run up to him and beg for Bibles and Testaments “as if they were gold guineas for free distribution.” Jones would quickly exhaust his supply of reading material, and sadly have to turn away most of the men. “I have never seen more diligent Bible-readers than we had in the Army of Northern Virginia.”
Bibles and Testaments, along with all other printed matter, were declared to be contraband of war soon after Ft. Sumter, so began the problem of acquiring Christian printed material. Bibles and Testaments were ordered from England, but few made it through the blockade. But as in most other things in the Confederacy, necessity attained results, and at its height, more than a million tracts a week were being printed and distributed, along with many thousands of Bibles, Testaments, soldiers’ hymnbooks, Bible readings, etc.