Sunday, May 26, 2013
Sunrise Service~~During the winter of 1863 a "Great Revival" took place in the Army of Northern Virginia. Many believed after the Battle of Fredericksburg that the Lord had blessed the Southern cause with a great decisive victory, possibly changing the course of the war. As so often happens in times of war and great struggle, men turn toward their creator for understanding, insight, and guidance for their uncertain future. General Stonewall Jackson used the winter respite as an opportunity to increase the spirituality of his men. Jackson believed his army's religious character was an integral part of being successful on the battlefield.
The Stonewall Brigade built a number of log chapels around Fredericksburg to serve the men, while General Jackson endeavored to enlist as many chaplains as he could find. One of Jackson’s aides described one of the emotional services. “The crowded house, the flickering lights, the smoke that dimmed the light, the earnest preaching, the breathless attention, broken only by sobs of prayers…. made an occasion never to be forgotten.”
After Sunday afternoon services the leaders of the Army of Northern Virginia headed back through the snow draped countryside in a joyous mood. General Stuart’s close friend and horse-drawn artillery commander, Major John Pelham of Alabama, often accompanied the leaders. The idol of many southern belles, the gallant and dashing 24 year-old Pelham had proved his bravery at Fredericksburg and would fight in more than 60 engagements. His daring skill and ability to keep up with his commander’s fast moving cavalry raids refined the concept of flying artillery.
Leaders such as Lee, Jackson, and Stuart would call on many such men to sacrifice and give all for their country. It was also their hope and prayer that if the day came when they did not return to camp with their companions, the Lord would embrace them and say, “Well done my brave Christian Soldier." Rex Shields