Item description: God in the War. A Sermon Delivered before the Legislature of Georgia, in the Capitol at Milledgeville, on Friday, November 15, 1861, Being a Day Set apart for Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, by his Excellency the President of the Confederate States.
Item citation: Henry H. Tucker (Henry Holcombe), 1819-1898
God in the War. A Sermon Delivered before the Legislature of Georgia, in the Capitol at Milledgeville, on Friday, November 15, 1861, Being a Day Set apart for Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, by his Excellency the President of the Confederate States. Milledgeville: Boughton, Nisbet & Barnes, State Printers, 1861. 4196 Conf. Rare Book Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
GOD IN THE WAR.
DELIVERED BEFORE THE
LEGISLATURE OF GEORGIA,
IN THE CAPITOL AT MILLEDGEVILLE,
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1861,
BEING A DAY SET APART FOR,
Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer,
HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES.
BY REV. HENRY H. TUCKER, D.D.,
PROFESSOR OF BELLES LETTRES IN MERCER UNIVERSITY.
BOUGHTON, NISBET & BARNES, STATE PRINTERS.
MILLEDGEVILLE, Nov. 16, 1861.
To REV. PROFESSOR H. H. TUCKER:
Dear Sir: The undersigned Committee appointed by the House of Representatives of the State of Georgia, to solicit of you for publication a copy of your able and interesting discourse delivered in the Representatives’ Hall on yesterday, have the pleasure to communicate to you the wishes of the House, with the hope that you will comply with the same.
We have the honor to be,
Yours with considerations of respect,
ROBERT H. TATUM,
F. M. HAWKINS,
Nov. 16th, 1861.
Gentlemen: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication, conveying to me the request of the House of Representatives for a copy of my discourse delivered yesterday, for publication.
Hoping and believing that the spread of the sentiments expressed in my discourse will not only do good to the hearts of my countrymen, but contribute to our success in the struggle in which we are engaged, I place a copy of the manuscript at your disposal.
I am gentlemen,
Your obedient servant,
H. H. TUCKER.
Messrs. ROBERT H. TATUM,
F. M. HAWKINS,
“Come behold the works of the Lord, what desolations He hath made in the earth.
He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh to bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariot in the fire.”
PSALMS XLVI, 8:9.
Desolation! Desolation! Thousands of our young men have been murdered. Thousands of fathers and mothers among us have been bereaved of their sons. Thousands of widows are left disconsolate and heart-broken, to struggle through life alone. The wail of thousands of orphans is heard through the land, the Ægis of a father’s protection being removed from over their defenceless heads. Thousands of brave men are at this moment lying on beds of languishing, some prostrated by the diseases incident to the army and camp, and some by cruel wounds. Every house within reach of the seat of war is a hospital, and every hospital is crowded. Huge warehouses emptied of their merchandize, and churches, and great barns, are filled with long rows of pallets beside each other, containing each a sufferer, pale, emaciated and ghastly. Some writhe with pain; some rage with delirium; some waste with fever; some speak of home, and drop bitter tears at the recollection of wives soon to be widows, and babes soon to be fatherless. The nurse hurries with noiseless step, ministering from bedside to bedside. The pious chaplain whispers of Jesus to the dying. The surgeon is in frightful practice, bloody though beneficent; and as his knife glides through the quivering flesh and his saw grates through the bone and tears through the marrow, the suppressed groan bears witness to the anguish. A father stands by perhaps, to see his son mutilated. Mother and wife and sisters at home witness the scene by a dreadful clairvoyance, and with them the operation lasts not for moments but for weeks. Every groan in the hospital or tent, or on the bloody field, wakes echoes at home. There is not a city, nor village,
nor hamlet, nor neighborhood that has not its representatives in the army, and scarcely a heart in our whole Confederacy that is not either bruised by strokes already fallen, or pained by a solicitude scarcely less dreadful than the reality. Desolation! Desolation! Hearts desolate, homes desolate, the whole land desolate! Our young men, our brave young men, our future statesmen, and scholars and divines, to whom we should bequeath this great though youthful empire with all its destinies; the flower of our society,–contributions from that genuine and proper aristocracy which consists of intelligence and virtue,–thousands, thousands of them laid upon the altar! And alas! the end is not yet. Another six months may more than double the desolation. Relentless winter may aid the enemy in his work of death. The youth accustomed at home to shelter, and bed, and fire, and all the comforts of high civilization, standing guard on wintry night, exposed to freezing rain and pealing blasts, and having completed his doleful task, retiring to his tent, to lie upon the bare ground, in clothes encrusted with ice, may not falter in spirit in view of his hardships; the fires of patriotism may still keep up the warmth at his heart; when be remembers that he is fighting for the honor of his father, and for the purity of his mother and sisters, and for all that is worth having in the world, he may cheerfully brave the terrors of a winter campaign; but though his soul be undaunted, his body will fail. Next spring when the daisies begin to blow, thousands of little hillocks dotted all over the country on mountain side and in valley, marked at each end with a rough memorial stone, and a brief and rude inscription made perhaps with the point of a bayonet, will silently but ah! how impressively, confirm the sad prophecy of this hour. Thus the work of desolation may go on winter after winter, until the malice of our foes is satiated, and until our young men are all gone. But let us not anticipate. The present alone presents subjects of contemplation, enough to fill the imagination and to break the heart.
These are the desolations of war. Do you ask why I present this sad, this melancholy picture? Why I make this heart-rending recital of woes enough to make heaven weep? In so doing I am but following the example of the Psalmist when he says, “Come behold the works of the Lord, what desolations He hath made in the earth!” If in the midst of victory when the God of Israel had given success to the arms of his people, their leader and king called upon them to forget their successes and meditate on the desolations of war, it must be right for the man….[click here to continue reading]