Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/384

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
378
Southern Historical Society Papers.

The facts in the case are simply these :

I had heard this anecdote told a number of times in the camp and since the war, and had seen it in print probably five or six times. I I had never heard it denied, or seen its authenticity questioned, and I really believed, until I saw your "open letter," that it was entirely authentic. Your statement, of course, settled the matter, and I shall never repeat the anecdote again; shall ask my publishers to suppress it in future editions of my book, and shall do everything in my power to correct it. But when I used it to illustrate a point in my "Christ in the Camp," it was in the full assurance of its authenticity.

Yet I would never have used a well-authenticated anecdote had I supposed for a moment that it either placed you " in the attitude of a skulker," or that any one would so regard it, or that it would in any way wound you ; but I would respectfully submit that the friend who told you of it has, unintentionally, of course, misrepresented the tone and spirit of my publication, and made it mean what the language does not imply.

And in order that this may be seen, I feel constrained to quote the passage from "Christ in the Camp" in full, although I am loth to do so, as the anecdote proved to be a "baseless canard."

In speaking of the faithful workers, who preached to the soldiers under the most adverse circumstances, I say:

"Rev. Dr. R. L. Dabney was a gallant and efficient officer on Jackson's staff, and often preached to the men at headquarters and in their camps and bivouacs as opportunity offered. On this march he preached a very able sermon on 'Special Providence,' and in the course of which he used this emphatic language: 'Men, you need not be trying to dodge shot, or shell, or minnie. Every one of these strikes just where the Lord permits it to strike, and nowhere else, and you are perfectly safe where the missiles of death fly thickest until Jehovah permits you to be stricken.'

"Major Nelson, of General Ewell's staff, one of the bravest of the brave, and an humble Christian and devout churchman, heard that sermon, and did not fully endorse what he called its 'extreme Calvinism.'

"During the battle of Malvern Hill General Jackson rode, as was his wont, into the very hottest fire, and for some time he and his staff sat on their horses at a point at which there was a converging fire, but ' old Stonewall ' seemed to be entirely oblivious of it until one of his couriers was killed, when he turned to his staff and told