Author: Steven E. Woodworth

a professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas

Religious Revivals during the Civil War

Religious revivals during the American Civil War (1861–1865) were characterized by surges in religious interest and observance among large numbers of soldiers in both the Union and Confederate armies. Although they came not long after the Second Great Awakening, which was primarily a Baptist and Methodist phenomenon, the soldier revivals tended to be ecumenical and to cross class boundaries. They were often marked by frequent, fervent, and heavily attended religious ceremonies, including preaching services, organized prayer meetings, and “experience meetings,” or gatherings in which individual soldiers took turns sharing with the group how God had brought them to faith in Christ. They were also evidenced by much private Bible reading and small informal prayer meetings among the troops.


Charles Minnigerode (1814–1894)

Charles Minnigerode was a professor of Latin and Greek and, for thirty-three years, the rector of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond. During the American Civil War (1861–1865), Saint Paul’s was sometimes called “the Cathedral of the Confederacy,” and its parishioners included Confederate president Jefferson Davis and Confederate general Robert E. Lee. In 1862, Minnigerode, who immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1839, baptized Davis, and in 1864, he read prayers at the burial of Confederate general J. E. B. Stuart.


Jedediah Hotchkiss (1828–1899)

Jedediah Hotchkiss served as a staff officer to Confederate general Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson during the American Civil War (1861–1865). A New York native, Hotchkiss opened a school in 1859 in Augusta County. His specialty, however, was mapmaking, and his topographical skills proved to be crucial to Jackson’s success during his famous Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862. Thanks to Hotchkiss’s maps, Jackson always had ample knowledge of the geographic setting within which he was operating and a good appreciation of the terrain he would put to use against the enemy.