tv Lectures in History Aid Societies for Civil War Union Troops CSPAN September 15, 2018 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT
the objectives for the following day. by midmorning of september 13, the whole salient had >> watch american artifacts, sunday at 6:00 p.m. eastern on "american history tv" on c-span3. next on lectures in history, hillsdale college professor david rainey teaches a class about civil war era societies that supported union troops. he highlights the work of the u.s. sanitary commission and u.s. christian commission, which provided additional supplies and medical services to the soldiers. it is about one hour. david: good afternoon, everybody. -- welcome back. we talked about the river war. we looked at the activities of ulysses s. grant and willie t sherman, particularly at fort henry and donaldson.
i will begin with a retrospective on one of those characters. then we're going to begin looking at an issue i find quite fascinating. that is an element of what is referred to as the northern homefront. i would like us to look at two groups. we look at the u.s. christian commission. we also look at the u.s. sanitary commission. you probably recall the usec references limited -- a few limited references, but also the u.s. senator commission features prominently. we will make sure we address that during the course of today's lecture. first, a brief retrospective. aided by a crutch, the age where your hobbled to the front of the platform to address curious and admiring well-wishers. nearly 10,000of
have gathered in ocean grove, new jersey on an august afternoon, 1884, for a reunion of the u.s. christian commission and other civil war benevolent organizations. speaking only with the greatest of efforts and a voice that faltered, the hero thanked the christian commission for the extensive good it performed on the field and in the hospital during the late war. , had special opportunities said he, to know of services rendered, constellations administered of patient unwavering attention to the sick , of letters written to the mourning parents of noble sons. it general's voice cracked, interior -- tears began streaming down his cheek. ulysses s grant could go no further. thunderoused amid applause. last in public.
through cancer claimed the life of one americans one -- most celebrated war heroes. the civil war as an unparalleled opportunity to convert young men to christ. the field of battle would become the field of ministry. it is much better known for its basketball courts, swimming pools, maybe a disco song. under the aegis of the christian commission, the ymca saw to coordinate its efforts to minister to the needs of union soldiers. christian workers believe it was their christian duty to provide for the soldiers on both sides of the conflict, north and south. they focused especially on one
of the boys in blue. many of whom were ymca members prior to the start of the war. the members in the christian commission realized the need were spiritual. there were difficult, if not impossible, for groups like the u.s. krishna commission to attract the union fighting men to christ, if their needs were not met first. in this work, the christian commission was directed for preparing soldiers to act upon the christian message. also, the christian commission has been remembered as an agency that distributed bibles and underwritten -- other religious reading material. it did so much more. it also engaged in activities ranging from supplying fresh food to troops, teaching black soldiers, all in an attempt to bring these men to the lord. "'s commission chairman said
there is a good deal of religion in warm shirts and a good beef steaks." u.s.or commission of the was formed in the summer of 61 as an organization that attended to complement the army's medical bureau. from its inception, the sanitary commission concerned itself with problems in the army ranging from sanitation, drainage, but also diets and medical care. you probably remember, your readings this week included writings from walt whitman outlining his time as a nurse during the civil war. indid serve as a delegate the christian commission. we also had readings from mary livermore, who worked on behalf of the sanitary commission. although the organizations engaged in similar activities, each group maintained distinct goals.
the secular sanitary commission strove to save men's lives, while the christian commission placed a premium on saving men's souls. on november 14, 1861, delegates from the ymca chapters from the north met at the headquarters of the new york ranch. after two days of meetings, they expanded to 50 men as members of the new christian commission. the number 12 was sprayed with significant for the christian commission. a prominent philadelphia merchant was selected as the permanent chairman. the newly formed christian commission raised the time in formulating subjective and beginning his agenda. 1861, it was written " to take active measures to promote the spiritual and welfare of the soldiers in the army and sailors and marines in the navy in cooperation with chaplains and others." 13, 1862, the
executive committee issued a circular program to meet the needs of the union troops. the goals expressed range from furnishing material to aiding the formation of religious associations in several regiments. above all, the christian commission was implying efforts to bring soldiers to the personal relationship with jesus christ. we propose to encourage whatever is good. and keep fresh in the remembrance the instructions of earlier fears and develop organized and make effective the religious elements in the army and navy. the commission recognized the opportunities for evangelism that they were offered. the organization intended to exploit those avenues for you. the field is open to us, wrote the executive committee. we can have access to their immortal polls, the chaplains desire to call for our eight, the government, and the men ask
for and receive religious training and teaching with an eagerness most touching. thousands would have never entered the house of god and have none to care for their souls, now with him tired -- now with him and imperil. peril.with a minute the cornerstone of the christian commission's efforts was extensive use of unpaid agents and volunteers as delegates. individuals who served as clergyman through the north. substantial number, probably a minority, but some were actually lamen. because the commission remained an interdenominational organization through the war, any member of an orthodox protestant church was actually welcome to apply for service. the commission did not solicit assistance from unitarians, for
example, roman catholics, and others considered outside the fold of evangelical christianity. of the approximately 5000 delegates, only a handful where women. they made a tremendous impact. often the early and chaotic stages of its existence, the commission would have delegates to serve various traits of time, making allowances for different schedules. as the war dragged on, the beach delegates found at least six weeks in the field. which thehe year in commission began its benevolent operations, the organization sent 356 delegates to the field. by the close, 4859. structured -- instructed them to view all military regulations and abstain from casting aspersions upon the authorities, military, medical,
and clerical. the group was aware of infractions of the rules may lead to cruel relations with officers, surgeons, and chaplains that could jeopardize this work. cruel relations did prevail for a time. major general howard, often referred to as the christian general, was a supporter of the christian commission. he delivered a public address in which he find the "system of the army has proved a failure powered --." his comments reflected a widespread realization that army chance lindsay -- army chaplaincy -- commanding officers decried a severe shortage of chaplains. brigadier general david bell murray limited the wretched
broken down men had often seek refuge in army chaplain. colonel robert mcallister wrote he wished the regimental chaplain would resign. he said he is of no worth the use to us here. he has not done anything for the good of the regiment. he is disliked by all. this was the chaplain. when a private complaint his champion lied about carrying the mail and does nothing but hang around his tent and sort the mail. he never goes around amongst the men. i think he is nothing but a compounded humbug and is. a proposal by the christian commission to solicit the army brigade to address the shortcomings, it was met with a great deal of opposition from the chaplains themselves. ultimately, the commission abandoned the plan and redoubled efforts to assist chaplains
where possible and avoid criticizing or undermining their work. there is still lingering recognition that there are sick wrists -- serious problems. for the duration of the war, the commission continued to provide chapel tent and religious meeting materials as appropriate. delegates further aided them by conducting religious services, visiting sick and wounded, and performing other needed tasks. of best remembered function the christian commission, one that does make history books, was it distribution of religious reading material. this was remembered with good reason. an important part of what they did. 1862, they had their thet goal, "rushing to them periodicals, tracks, and books." the commission made this a priority. it was one of the most efficient
methods by which a large number could be exposed to the christian message. allowed theations commission to distribute massive quantities of religious literature to the union soldiers. from 1862 to 1865, the commission distributed nearly 1.5 million bibles, testaments, and portions of scripture. over one point million three hym psalm books, and 18 million religious newspapers. they could give away over 39 million pages of tracks and nearly 300,000 bound library books. not this mass effort did condemn that was reinforced. most of the soldiers time was not devoted to fighting, to battle, but it was in camp, idle
time where they would have to wile away the hours. men welcomed reading material anytime they could obtain it. robert jm barnett, a christian commission delegate working in pennsylvania to supply soldiers with warm underclothing, reading it,rials, and words of discovered the severity of the reading matters shortage. >> i was asked by a soldier for people -- paper. 100 others gathered around me, stretching their hands and saying gives me one -- give me one. my stock was quickly exhausted. even after i told them they were all gone, they still followed, beseeching me for something to read. the christian commission distributed more reading material than secular literature, they realized the image listed essential, winning the confidence by giving them popular books to read.
many secular works touched on topics of morality, and those who paid the way for religious military. establishing what became known as the long libraries composed of secular books exhibited a potential for saving more souls. hence the commission's executive committee announcing that a primary goal of the organization would be furnishing as far as possible profitable reading other than religious. militarythere is a post, establish a general library of such works. chaplain joseph thomas of the 80th regiment volunteers. and was the force behind the commission's library system. shortly after joining his regiment in september, 1862, he was quite disturbed to find his fellow soldiers paying excessive sums for literature of inferior quality. in order to supplant this trash
with better reading material, he set out to secure quality periodicals or his men at reasonable cost. his successful efforts on behalf of his regiments gave the notice of general george h thomas. we will talk more about him later on. in september, 1863, he appointed the good chaplain the general reading agent for the army of cumberland. in this capacity, chaplain thomas convinced the publishers of several prominent periodicals, including atlantic monthly, harpers magazine, and the new york times, to supply at half their regular subscription price. this was seen at a victory. the christian commission was reluctant to support the efforts, because it was taking money from the soldiers, asking them to pay for something that should have been provided. eventually, the commission endorsed the plan after they were urged to do so.
while the christian commission warned to chaplain thomas of 1864, itjanuary secured a commitment from numerous publishers to supply books to the commission at half their retail price. thomas, who went on to become the commissions general library agent, in charge of all their library efforts, sifted through about 100 publisher catalogs to compile a list of books suitable for the loan library system. in selecting books, he was guided by the following principles. "none but the best works. the best, most suitable, and cheapest editions, secular and religious. utility rather than variety." in the end, public donations of books supplemented the works obtained by publishing houses and helped the commission to make their efforts much more effective. as far as each library, each with typically composed of 125 volumes, although it could vary. among them were works of
history, biography, science, even fiction, not to mention religion. the library of thomas' own regiment included washington irving's biography of george washington. george bancroft's history of the united states. and sir walter scott's eisenhower. -- libraries were loaded to hospitals, camps, and vessels. , chaplain, or other authority figure would act as a librarian who would take responsibility for the collection and report back to the commission on its use. by 1865, the year the war ended, the number of libraries had increased to approximately 400. 25 were on the larger war vessels. 50 at forts and military post. the rest were in regiments and hospitals. the loan library system was endorsed by a number of common
and military figures, including the commander in chief of all union forces. on december 21, 1864, william ballantine, chairman of the christian commission's washington branch, wrote to abraham lincoln seeking the sanction of the president's name for "a library of new and choice books to every gunboat in the navy and every brigade in army for the purpose it makes its appeal to the public worth 300,000 volumes." the commissioner is trying to get lincoln to sanction this and lent his name to the effort. replying on december 30, lincoln stated the proposal promised " much usefulness," and had his " party approval." general grant saw "nothing to oppose." on the other hand, "everything to commend." general burnside took " great pleasure" in supporting the system. not only was it popular among
the men, but also a number of key military figures recognized the utility, keeping men engage inhave them other types of activity. you can let your imaginary run while. gambling, cardplaying, things like that. materialious reading were not the only items the christian commission disagreed -- distributed to union soldiers. out of concerns of the physical needs and the desire to save their souls, the commission took a massive effort to distribute things like warm underwear, socks, slippers, sheets, pillows, writing materials, and fresh food to the troops. these things were vital to the war effort. magnitude.s of such through avenues of provision not being available at this time. and activities of private
entities of the most importance. the christian commission moved to fill that particular void. the commission's annual report foods ranging from oatmeal and for rina. interesting, the commission also urged the public to send good brandy, wine, and cordials. domestic wines are excellent and winners, but have to spoil in the summer. the solicitation of alcoholic beverages was a strange practice for a number of christian commission delegates, many who were tempers advocates. the exegetes of war led them to administrate things like brandy, wine, and whiskey. these were things that were not used for recreational purpose, but for men who were sick and wounded in battle.
justifye reference to their actions. they pointed to proverbs 31:6 as justification. ." give strong drink -- "give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish." delegates were happy to report, in some cases, " in no case has any complaint whisper of any of the gorgeous wood downed the wrong drugs." they are not being misused, they are being used legitimately for good -- medicinal purposes. from 1862-1865, the public donated just short of $3 million worth of goods to the offices. gifts ofturbing these food, clothing, reading material, miscellaneous articles, commission officials
saw how they can administer the needs of the troops. workers who handed out much desired items recognized their christian message became much more effective. grateful soldiers were often willing to listen to the kind words of their benefactors, and ultimately, take the christian message more seriously. hospitals provided the christian commission with a golden opportunity to reap a bountiful harvest of souls. throughout the war, commission delegates sought to bring comfort to the wounded and dying, while preparing them for the next life. time was of the essence. soldiers were passing on everywhere without the assurance of salvation. a secretary of the commissions maryland branch explained the purposes of the organization's hospital work in a january 1864 letter to commission chairman stewart. >> in the hospitals near the
battlefield, the delegates of the commission engaged in their work. while employed on the relief of the physical suffering of their charge, it was fully mindful. they read the scriptures of religious books and men, and prayed with them, encouraging them in every possible way to consider their safety. not only as regard of the comforts of the presence, but the realities of the future of the world. the delegates often coordinated the ministries of the organizations. in december of 1862, a core of commission delegates was sent on the authority of the surgeon general and south to the general house point of point lookout maryland. the head of the delegation reported back that the hospital contained 2000 patients. 1100 arrived by that point as a result of the battle at
harrisburg. the surgeon in charge really -- received the delegation cordially providing them with quarters and food, and appointed them acting medical cadets. the delegates went about the work of dressing wounds, engaging the men in conversation, writing letters to loved ones on behalf of the soldiers, and acting to comfort the hospital inmates. once again, administering to temporal and spiritual needs. the delegation did not limit for providing aid to the sick and wounded bird the workers went on to distribute a large quantity of bibles, tracks, and other religious reading material to the men in an attempt to reach them with the christian message. the delegates also held evening meetings at the chapel. oferally, reached a number situations.
soldiers who were sick or wounded were in special need of a proper diet. it could not be met for the regular channels of army provision. their diets had to be altered in order to be supplied with necessary nutrients. think of what was often standard issue as soldiers. things like robbing's, and tainted meat -- raw beans, and tainted meat were not suitable for men. to meet this need, a christian commission sanctioned the special diet kitchens to prepare food for the soldiers who could not subsist on standard army rations. a commission agent from iowa was placed in charge of the effort to supply the needs of these patients. his kitchen work was inspired in part by a chance encounter she had with one of her brothers in a missouri hospital.
this is a cold january morning. she noticed this 16-year-old boy was if lifted with typhoid fever and dysentery. he had rejected the unappetizing breakfast that had been offered to him. here's how it was described by his sister. " on a dingy looking wooden tray was a tin cup full of black strong coffee. it was a lead looking tin patter with a piece of fried fat bacon swimming in its own grease, and a slice of bread." she went on to ask the following question. " could anything be more discussing to fever stricken and wounded patients?" clearly, this was not going to help the men get better. brave mens of our have died, who is nursed
suitable food at the proper time, might now have been in the front ranks of the army." despite being managed separately by whitmire and members of the christian commission, an official part of the hospital they served, they were subjected t direct control and oversighto by military authorities, including surgeons in the hospital. soldiers in need of a special diet were allowed to select food items from a list. meals were prepared in the joining kitchen by many who were affiliated with the christian commission, but sometimes the dietitians would employ wounded shoulders -- wounded soldiers. they were the ones doing the cooking. it wasn't a matter of women being pressed into cooking. they rarely did the cooking. the women were actually superintending the efforts on behalf of the soldiers. the female kitchen managers who
were selected with an eye towards culture, super standing, and christian character, supervised all facets of the food preparation process. we have good reason to believe whitmire was a reliable source. she encountered no opposition, personally, to her efforts on behalf of the soldiers. president lincoln, the secretary of war, and the surgeon general endorsed or activities personally, as did general ulysses grant. at the request of whitmire, grant and two of his staff members visited some special dietitians near city point, virginia, to see firsthand the work being done on three -- on behalf of the sick and wounded. grant observed the distribution of the meals. and even toured to watch the soldiers as they ate. he later remarked "these men live better than i do."
while the general is making his way through one of the wards, an inmate mistook them for a christian commission delegates. " say christian, won't you bring me a pair of socks?." ." i will" see you get a pair, graham replied. " he saw that he got his oxford. whitmire established over 100 special dietitians by 1865. many remained in operation during the summer of 1865 as the troops he mustered out of military service. the facility prepared untold quantities of milk, chicken soup, beef, fish, omelettes, potatoes for the consumption of sick and wounded man who may have perished on the standard military rations. reflecting upon the effectiveness of these kitchens, whitmire observed by 1864, hundreds of precious lives had been saved. many souls had been brought to the knowledge of christ through this instrumentality.
like christian dominican -- like cushion delegates, christian workers were concerned with the spiritual dimension of their work. alsohristian commission promoted education as a means of furthering its evangelistic aims. operating in the shenandoah valley, materials obtained from where constructing a chapel that doubled as a schoolhouse. in the evenings, the soldiers gathered for preaching and prayer meetings. during the day, it became a schoolroom. according to reverend edward p smith, who had become the commission's field secretary, forms and rude desks were on the walls. from morning until night, from set -- 100-200 boys in blue wrote under direction of the professor and assistance.
thechaplain parlayed popularity of his basic lessons into an opportunity for evangelism. when the school day ended, preaching and prayer soon followed. that important to know instruction and conversion were not restricted to white soldiers. large numbers of black troops were eager to learn. they encouraged the general in command to propose building schoolhouse facilities for these soldiers, if the christian commission agreed to provide the books and instructors. sensing, the commission accepted the proposal and furnished the resources. the schoolhouse is declared the annual report for 1864 served a double purpose of schools and chapels, and added benefits accrue to the men. the commission stepped up its program to educate black troops as the war drew to a close.
it's an 20 teachers in a single day to serve in black army units. its work in virginia was extensive. coordinating with chaplains, the commission promoted educational activities in each regiment of that court. the government supplied lender, the commission furnished instructors, books, and supplies. the prospective students provided labor. they built these school facilities. also createdn educational programs targeted towards the contrabands, slaves coming into the union army lines. it's role diminished as the army's were disbanded, and other groups began to take a more active role in the field. we might wonder how was all this receivedby others? not just the rank-and-file soldiers, but leaders and commanders?
let's look at that a bit. usually the approbation or approval of military and governmental figures as well as the men it served. as early as december 11, 1861, the commission's chairman wrote to lincoln, asking for the president's blessing upon the groups intent "to take active measures to promote the welfare of the soldiers in the army and sailors and marines in it navy, in cooperation with chaplin and others." lincoln panned a favorable reply the next day. "your christian and benevolent undertaking for the benefit of the soldiers is too obviously proper and trade worthy to admit any difference of opinion. i sincerely hope your plan may be as successful execution as it is just and generous in conception." lincoln reiterated his support later for the commission's goals
in february of 1863. writing to alexander reed, the heanization superintendent, was respectfully declining an invitation to attend a commission gathering in washington. he said the following "whatever shall be sincerely and in god's name devised for the good of the soldiers and seamen can scarcely fail to be blessed. whatever shall tend to turn our thoughts from the unreasoning and uncharitable passions, president is, and jealousy, into a great national trouble such as in thend to fix them vast and long enduring consequences which a result from the struggle, and especially strengthen our alliance on the supreme being for the final try for the right cannot be but well for us all." ringing endorsement from the commander-in-chief. in theignificant figures
government armed forces responded favorably to the aims of the christian commission. 1861, ther 13, secretary of war had a checkered record. even he said the following "this department is deeply interested in the soldiers in the army, as well as in their intellectual improvement in social and physical comfort. we will cheerfully give our aid to the benevolence and patriotic land who desire to improve the condition of our troops." likewise, general george b mcclellan sent a letter stating plans revised for the pressing needs of the men in the ranks "meet my cordial approval and will prove a great rally. -- a great value." despite ringing endorsements, the christian commission met a cool public opposition. many but loving groups -- many benevolent groups were clamoring
for support and donations during the early stages of the war. as a result, the public would often view these requests for philanthropic assistance with a great deal of skepticism. a lot of people asking for money and donations. it was a bewildering time. the christian commission was another organization asking for donations. the public was generally weary of all this. preceding the public mood, the secretary reported in a letter that "there is a great confusion in the public mind in new york among the agencies who are busy doing similar operations and all making their appeal and claim to the public in the half of the army." each party campuses the ground, and men are disinclined to take up anymore. an embarrassment of riches when it came to philanthropic activities. a number competing for funds. the public was not alone in its initial coolness toward the
christian commission. early in the work, friction existed between the commission and a number of officers. because the commission was rather slow at first to complete its organizing process, it wasted valuable time in establishing legitimacy in the eyes of the government and the public. as a result, and because many groups were clamoring for public favors, secretary award edwin m stanton and henry halleck originally placed restrictions on the committee's activities. delegates were denied passage through the military lines, and were prevented for performing their duties. in addition, many surgeons were annoyed by the presence of commission workers among their patients. commission agents had no professional training or medical experience, the men grabbed, they had no business around army hospitals. the christian commission's
efforts, particularly in 1862, and eight and 63, brought the organization finally legitimacy it sought after carrying benevolent activities after the battles of second bull run, antietam, and murphysboro. the commission earned newfound respect for the government, military, and public. fundraising eventually became more productive. surgeons became less bellicose. the authorities lifted the sanctions on the commission's early work. things began to loosen up quite a bit. military leaders also could not ignore the commission's good works. after meeting with the reverend of the commission' executive committees, stanton issued a memorandum that stated " bishop james is authorized tuesday. he has received assurance that every facility will be afforded to the christian commission for
the performance of religious and neville and purpose in the armies of the united states and the courts, garrisons, camps, and military post." you get the point of what the secretary of war is attempting to say. while -- i should say a couple of things about the christian commission's activities, with regards to the sanitary commission. since the christian commission and sanitary commission often overlap, in terms of activities, they became familiar and ended up having some difficulty working together. the sanitary commission was war, summer in the of 1860 one, as a service organization intended to come army's medical bureau. a unitarian minister from new york was the primary source behind and not just the founding, but led the group
throughout the war. frederick law olmsted was appointed the general secretary of the organization. george templeton strong, a new york lawyer, served as the treasurer. from the inception, they were basically more concerned with sanitation, drainage, diet, things of that sort. they were attending to fix those serious problems. while the goal of the christian commission and sanitary commission overlapped, the groups routinely competed with each other for things like resources, and quarreled over ideology, methods of solving problems. for ay, they agreed limited time in the month of december, to work together to a degree. even that consensus broke down pretty quickly buried issues of faith often dominated the discussions. the sanitary commission had little use for what it
considered the excessive and misplaced zeal of the christian commission. the christian commission mistrusted what the sanitary commission current. the members of the christian commission were concerned by the fact that bellows as unitarian refused to believe in univision -- the divinity of christ. the commissioners also differed quite a bit, in terms of the tactics they used to serve soldiers. the christian commission delegates regarded the work as a spiritual enterprise that required personal contact with the troops and strove in the words of the second report to "enhance the value of both gives and services by kind words to the soldiers as a man, not a machine." the sanitary commission insisted the relief work could be performed best by paid professionals, those who
maintained order by disturbing stores and service through proper military channels. consequently, sanitary commissioners divided the christian commission's sentimentality ans purported lack of attention to rules and organizationds. if you look at these ways in which the workers went about their business, there were stark differences. the sanitary commission used paid workers in stark contrast to the christian commission's use of volunteer delegates. walt whitman became a christian commission delegate in january of 1863. he expressed his distaste for sanitary commission workers in a letter to his mother. as is stands with the senator a commission, i am sick of them all. i would not accept any of their births. you should see the way they lie helpless in bed, turn away their faces from the site of these agents.
of foxes -- me asap a set of foxes and wolves. they get paid well and are often incompetent and disagreeable. the only good fellows i have met are the christian commissioners. they go everywhere and receive no pay." of course, george templeton strong returned the favor. he was an up his compelling. he was very skeptical of the idea of the christian commission coming in and letting their irrational exuberance carry them through their activities. a very interesting diary entry from april 10, 1963, he had the following to say after a meeting with a number of christian commission delegates. "there is an undercurrent of can't, unreality, or something else in their talk that repels and offends me. this association calling itself
a commission, it is no more than a corporation, or a quadratic equation, thus setting out under false colors with the forehead seems to be one of many forms in which the fussiness and humbug of our popular culture are constantly embodying themselves." not the only civil war figure to become annoyed with the activities of the christian commission. 18 54, while general william t sherman was in military operations, christian commission delegates approached him asking for a transport of bibles and religious tracks fire the railroads. " rations and ammunitions are better." the general said. in dealing with the prospect of recruiting of black soldiers in the south for union regiments, germany reacted quite miss it firstly to this. he said " i cannot permit it here. we have no means to transport
and feed them. the sanitary and christian commissions are enough to eradicate all traces of christianity out of our minds, much less a set of state agents in search of recruits." comments andan's actions, he was not entirely unsympathetic to the christian commission's agenda. after the war, when commission chairman stewart asked him for his assessment during the war, the general admitted the following. "the times i may have displayed an inpatients when they manifested an excess of zeal in pushing forward persons and services when we had no means to make use of the charities." he added when the opportunity to look back "on the past with composure, he was pleased to share his belief that the program was noble in its conception, and implied with as much zea kindness,l and discretion asji the times
permitted." file.y, the rank and -- although many rank-and-file soldiers appreciated the christian commission, some did not. one soldier limited "the vast the misguided philanthropy expended upon the army by good christian men and women who, with the best of motives, urging them forward no doubt, under the delusion that the army was composed of men that were thoroughly bad and governed their actions according." tracks uponalled " the wickedness of dancing, attending theaters, sleeping in church, extravagant dress, and similar matters were extensively circulated among troops." "it was evident the dealers had truly cleared their shelves of the rummage accumulative for years." these worthless traps to the army. being in church, extravagance of
address, not relevant for military men. resourceful troops often found novel uses for the religious literature made available to them. one soldier vying for tracks demanded "i don't want the little things, gimme the big papers with the flag on them. i'm going on ticket and wants him to put my rant since -- my rations in." another said "first rate to kindle fire's." another said" just what i want, to light my pipe with." the soldiers found novel uses for religious tracks. jeeredoccasionally christian commission workers. as one group of delegates was carrying carpet bags and passing a line of troops, one soldier asked if they had lemons to sell, thinking they may be settlers or merchants. the christian commission delegates had "we belong to the army of the lord."
"oh yes, stragglers." the soldier said back. no worthy and strictly amusing antidotes that involved indifference or hostility are rare. they do not represent the general attitude of at least the rank-and-file troops toward the organization. no soldiers who came in contact appreciated both its temporal and spiritual effort. you can find this in diaries, letters home, they are full of these types of testimonies. troops everywhere appreciated it gives of reading material, wounded soldiers welcomed meals, and dying men relished comfort of messages of salvation. the observations of private wilbur fisk were typical. "this christian commission has become to be respected by all of the boys, even those who care little about its benefits personally speak well and think it's a very good thing." general george g mead suggested
that nobody appreciates the efforts more than the army's top officers. " i assure you, no one looks more in favor upon the true christian who administers the spiritual ones of the dying or wants of the wounded than those who are most instrumental in the line of their duty in causing their suffering. hence, you may rest satisfied. receive every corporation and be treated with all of the convicts -- consideration for the noble work they are engaged upon. is perhaps general grant who did the best job of summing up the army's attitude for the christian commission. "the army felt the same gratitude the public felt for the services rendered by the army." the u.s.ry, 10, christian commission helped its
final business meeting. acknowledging circumstances created the need for the organization past, the assembly formally closed. the activities of the commission. in doing so, the group adopted a resolution thanking god for terminating rebellion and opening the influence of education and religion. furthermore, the delegation expressed its "devout gratitude to god for his blessings upon the officers and delegates of the commission in their efforts to relieve the suffering of our soldiers and seamen." and to impart to them that instruction and consolation in the religion of jesus which is beyond christ. we are pretty much out of time. i will entertain a couple of brief questions and stick around after class. there are office hours afterwards. if anybody has questions about what i had to say, anything.
>> does -- this is a silly question. you mentioned that the christian commission would not take volunteers who were catholics or unitarians. you mentioned they took volunteers as clergy and lehman. would they accept catholics and unitarians if they wanted to wrap wounds, or not at all? >> that is a good question. they didn't solicit assistance from those types of individuals, those dominations, those groups. in the fog of war, they were not quite as picky. there were no rigorous background checks in those days. quite frankly, to be fair to the christian commission, they did distribute a number of
scriptures that had -- that were catholic. they did that in certain regiments. they often failed to draw a hard line in the sand. they solicited those from orthodox organizations, evangelical groups, starting with their ministers for positions of delegates. the layman i talked about, they expected to be from those congregations. times of war, especially this war, there were no hard fast lines drawn. something i didn't mention much, but it is important to remind us all that the christian commission, even though its primary focus was the boys in blue, they would go into hospitals where the confederate wounded were lying in agony and administer them. after the war, there were testimonials provided by
confederate soldiers saying "we want to thank the members of the christian commission for administering to us." they were from the opposing side, yet were treated as christian brethren. if it weren't for the administration, they would have passed away. ofave come across a number those testimonials. some letters with signatures. these lines were blurred during times of war. the christian commission was focused on the spiritual good of the soldiers, but also being good christians, engaging in christian benevolence, regardless of who you are administering to. love your enemy, after all. anybody else? pushbackere any against the u.s. christian commission's education of african-american soldiers question mark -- african-american soldiers?
david: at the time, it was limited to virginia. it was very late in the war. the writing was on the walls for the outcome. it was more of a localized phenomenon. it was not as though they tried to take some of these black folders -- black soldiers into the irish regiment. you can see where this is going. there really was not. of virginiapulation looked at those activities. by that time, we're talking about february, march, late winter-early spring of 1865. much of virginia was ravaged, prostrate, in no position to reject anything of the sort. there was remarkably little opposition to those efforts. across that are
measurable. the christian commission thought of this in terms of saving souls, but also what it meant to be a christian, and charity. the certainly crossed barrier. the christian commission actually thought about keeping its doors open and continuing its work even after the war ended. they look back to the incorporation and said we were founded to meet the needs of the war, the war is over. what other groups take up the call to administer to perhaps the friedman, which some did. trying to educate the friedman became active. other workers became active in other groups. the christian commission folded since the war was over and they felt their mission had been concluded. mission accomplished, as they
said. thank you all for your kind attention. you have your marching orders for friday, reading assignments. please have those done by then. without further ado, i want to see you back here on friday. thank you all. join us every saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern as we join students in college classrooms to hear lectures on topics ranging from the american revolution to 9/11. "lectures in history "are also available as podcasts. visit c-span.org/history/podcast, or download them from itunes. lynn will be represented california in the u.s. house from 1993-2013. she was the first former welfare mother to serve in congress.
sunday, we feature an interview on her congressional career. here is a preview. lynn: after i got elected, my staff said you can't go down there and talk about being a welfare mother, because that is all you will be known for. my answer was if i don't do it, who will? come on. got to show by example, you can't just talk about things. it turned out that it wasn't all i was known for. i was on the floor and i remember this, i was part of a welfare reform. one of the cultures was on the committee in the house when i was a junior. down on the floor talking
about my experiences. the place would be -- you could hear a pin drop. i heard somebody say, yeah, but she is different. picture of a welfare mom, the average welfare mom, is caucasian, has two kids, i have three, and they had been abandoned by the father, and they are on the system of about four or five years. i had three years, i think. when you make people realize that, y maybe they start paying >> you can watch the entire 10:00 a.m.unday at
eastern. this is american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. next, paul hodos talked about the german u-boat north america campaign in 1918. he explained why germany attacked u.s. and canadian ships and describes their tactics. mr. hodos is the author of "the kaiser's lost kreuzer: a history of u-156 and germany's long-range submarine campaign against north america, 1918." he spoke at a daylong symposium at the graveyard of the atlantic museum in hatteras, north carolina to mark the 100th anniversary of the world war i u-boat warfare off the north carolina coast. it's about 45 minutes. paulr next speaker is mr. hodos. he was the author of "the kaiser's lost kreuzer: a history