The Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America
Monroe, Haskell M., Jr
Doctor of Philosophy
Many works have been written about the Civil War. While many of these books have contributed much to the knowledge of this war, some areas have received less attention than they merit. One such topic is the interrelation of the war and religion. Since they had used scriptural arguments to attack and defend state rights, secession, and slavery in ante-bellum years, the churchmen defended their conduct during the war with the same arguments. Yet there is no adequate study of this facet of the war. There are, however, accounts of some of the denominations and their activities in the sixties: Benjamin J. Blied, Catholics and the Civil War (Milwaukee, 1945); Joseph B. Cheshire, The Church in the Confederate States: A History of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States (New York, 1912); Charles W. Heathcote, The Lutheran Church and the Civil War (Cincinnati, 1912); Lewis G. Vander Velde, The Presbyterian Churches and the Federal Union, 1861--1869 (Cambridge, Mass., 1932). Of these studies only Vander Velde's book measures up to the modern demands of research and writing. Based on a wealth of material, his effort is dependable and thorough. The work at hand is intended to supplement Vander Velde's account, since he did not attempt to deal with the Presbyterians outside the Federal Union during the war years. This is not a theological account, for the ferocity of a life and death struggle left no time to argue the finer points of religious orthodoxy. Instead, Presbyterians in the South concentrated their spiritual strength in support of their nation. They tried to fight a war while keeping the faith. This attempt led them to organize a new General Assembly, to serve as soldier and believer with the army, to ferret out the unfaithful, to preach the Gospel to white and black alike, and to defend Zion. Since these and related topics were uppermost in the minds of the people who made up the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America, this study concerns the investigation and description of how and why these normally conservative individuals maintained their Church through four years of shattering war and into the uncertainty of total defeat. This account is designed to follow a chronological arrangement. Where this is not possible, certain topics such as the Negro and slavery and missions are discussed independently.
Church history; American history