Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/United States Christian Commission

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UNITED STATES CHRISTIAN COMMISSION, an organization founded by the National Young Men's Christian Association to perform religious and charitable work among the Union forces during the Civil War. It was first suggested by Vincent Colyer, who immediately after the battle of Bull Run, in July, 1861, went to Washington to do Christian work in the hospitals and camps in and around that city. His suggestion that a society similar to the United States Sanitary Commission be organized by the Young Men's Christian Associations of the country was acted upon by a convention called for the purpose in New York City, Nov. 14, 1861. The United States Christian Commission was then formed, and George H. Stuart, of Philadelphia, was elected president. The work of the commission was mainly moral and religious; but while it circulated Bibles, books, leaflets, etc., in camps, ships, and hospitals, it also distributed much food, clothing, hospital stores, and delicacies. Like the Sanitary Commission, it followed in the wake of the great armies, and gave efficient aid to the army and navy chaplains in throwing Christian influence around soldiers and sailors. In its benevolent work, the commission expended over $6,000,000, most of which was collected by the women in the different religious denominations.