the USCC–a revivalist Civil War ministry

In the New York Times today, there is an interesting article on the United States Christian Commission, an organization dedicated to ministering to the soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War.

Like the Y.M.C.A. movement in North America, the commission drew its force from the Second Great Awakening, a flowering of evangelicalism in the decades before the Civil War. As they offered religious services to soldiers, the commission’s staff also spread its version of Protestant Christianity, grounded in the doctrine of the Trinity, the authority of the Bible, the priesthood of all believers and justification by faith. The commission emphasized conversion, too, and excluded mainline Protestants from serving in its volunteer corps.

D. L. Moody served as a preacher in the work of the USCC.

The comments on revivalism in the article are much more positive than some bloggers offer lately!



  1. Brian Ernsberger says:

    Thanks for linking to the article. A truly fascinating read. Have never heard of the USCC.

  2. Watchman says:

    A number of years ago we went to a Civil War battle reinactment in Arizona. (Yes, there was actually one “battle” fought in the Indian territory out there that involved 12 soldiers on one side and 10 on the other.) Along with all the men wearing blue and grey, there were two preachers holding a tent revival. One led singing and the other preached a Gospel message. Afterward they explained the USCC and how preachers would follow the soldiers from one battlefield to the next and attempt to reach them before it was too late. This is really a fascinating and little-known part of our history.

    • Very interesting.

      I got interested in Civil War history a few years ago when my brother in law moved to the Nashville area and took us to the Franklin Battlefield museum. The battle there was one of the bloodiest of the war, not to mention among the stupidest. The Confederate general, Hood, was a real piece of work. His arrogance cost many fine lives that day.

      The New York Times is running an excellent series marking the 150th anniversary of the war. The piece I link to is part of that series. Usually three or four articles a week. Well worth following and studying, I think. In many ways, America is still feeling the effects of the Civil War.

      The source books/articles on the USCC, mentioned at the end of the article, would be worth pursuing.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3