As the war waged on. Sometimes fighting against overwhelming odds. Short on supplies and ammunition. Out-maned and out-gunned. General Lee, like Jesus, would go a little farther. And then he would pray. And then he would go a little farther. And then he would pray.
A 1900 article in The Chautauquan described General Lee as, "...a man of prayer, he had his regular hours of secret devotion which he allowed nothing else, however pressing, to interrupt."
During the war, General Lee issued many orders in the field calling his troops to prayer. Here is an example of such an order:
- Knowing that intercessory prayer is our mightiest weapon and the supreme call for all Christians today, I pleadingly urge our people everywhere to pray. Believing that prayer is the greatest contribution that our people can make in this critical hour, I humbly urge that we take time to pray - to really pray.
- Let there be prayer at sunup, at noonday, at sundown, at midnight - all through the day. Let us pray for our children, our youth, our aged, our pastors, our homes. Let us pray for our churches.
- Let us pray for ourselves that we may not lose the word "concern" out of our Christian vocabulary. Let us pray for our nation. Let us pray for those who have never known Jesus Christ and redeeming love, for moral forces everywhere, for our national leaders.
- Let prayer be our passion. Let prayer be our practice.
As we fight in a culture war against our history and against our heritage. A war in which we feel overwhelmed, out-manned, out-resourced, and out-funded. Like General Lee, and like our Lord, let us go "a little farther," and let us pray. So that we might go "a little farther," and pray.
CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL DAY
For all of you near Gainesville, Florida (or who can drive there) on April 25th and 26th, Landmark Baptist Church of Archer will mark Confederate Memorial Day with a memorial services and BBQ. You are invited to join them. For an online printable invitation click here: www.libcfl.org/invite
THIS WEEK IN THE WBTS:
In the North, the motto "In God We Trust" is approved for US coinage with the passage of the Coinage Act of 1864.
Down South, in Cleveland County, Arkansas at what is now called the Battle of Mark's Mill, Confederate troops under Major General James Fagan overwhelmed a Union detachment commanded by Colonel Francis Drake, leading to the Federal's abandonment of their position in Camden, Arkansas.
The Confederates estimated 41 killed, 108 wounded, and 144 missing. The Federal numbers are more difficult to determine because the entire column was captured; approximations range from 1,133 to 1,600. The loss of additional men and wagons, as well as the further depletion of Northern supplies in Camden, seriously challenged Northern General Steele's position and combined with the arrival of Confederate General Kirby Smith's army forces Steele to abandon Camden on April 26, 1864, and march northward toward Little Rock.
Federal records indicate that some 190 Union infantrymen and cavalrymen escaped and made their way overland to report in at the Federal Depot at Pine Bluff or made it all the way to Little Rock.
Most of the soldiers captured from the 36th Iowa, 43rd Indiana, 77th Ohio and Peetz's Battery of the 1st Missouri Light Artillery were marched to Tyler, Texas, where they were incarcerated at a prison stockade at Camp Ford. Many would be successful in later escapes. The prisoners remaining were released in 1865.
The Confederates also captured over $175,000 in Greenbacks from the Northern pay wagon that were supposedly used by Southern authorities to purchase the freedom of Confederate prisoners confined in Chicago, Illinois.
Ironically, the overwhelming Confederate victory at Mark's Mills was credited with saving the remainder of Steele's army from annihilation. Fagan and Shelby had been ordered to get between Steele's force and its original base at Little Rock; had they done so, there is no question that their overwhelming numbers, combined with additional units advancing under their commander Kirby Smith, would have surrounded Steele and compelled his destruction or surrender. By disobeying General Smith's orders and engaging Drake's brigade at Mark's Mills, Shelby and Fagan caused a delay in the Southern advance that proved to be just long enough for Steele to evacuate Camden and lead the battered remnants of his force to safety.Although Colonel Drake would later go on to a successful political career in his home state of Iowa, including winning the governorship of that state, the regimental historian of the 36th Iowa wrote that the men of the 43rd Indiana held him in extreme contempt long after the war, for "leading them straight into ambush by his dithering indecisiveness" at Mark's Mills.
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