Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/255

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Thanksgiving Service on the " Virginia. 249

incomplete without the following account of a most impressive scene that occurred on board of the Confederate steam frigate Virginia (nee Merrimac, U. S. N.) at the Gosport Confederate States Navy Yard, in grateful acknowledgment to Almighty God for the distin- guished victory gained in Hampton R'oads on Saturday and Sunday, the 8th and gth days of March, 1862. This most appropriate and solemn service of praise and grateful adoration was offered on the gun-deck of the steamer, at the special request of the officers and crew all hands being there assembled at 12 o'clock noon, on Monday, March loth, by the Rev. J. H. D. Wingfield, the assistant rector of Trinity Church, Portsmouth, Va.


"My brave and distinguished friends :

" If there be an ambition in the soul of man more prominent or more esteemed among men than another, it is that of deep and ear- nest gratitude for blessings vouchsafed. It is that one universal thread which binds all hearts in one, uniting that one to the heart of Him who sits the enthroned Potentate of the Universe. If ever there was a time which called loudly for the exhibition of this holy -emotion, it is the great and illustrious present. If ever there were individuals or a people who should anxiously desire to manifest it in words and deeds by some public and appropriate exercise, you are the men ; we, the citizens of the Confederate States of America, are the people. The present is undoubtedly an occasion when, after some special manner, we should render to Him who presides over the destinies of nations, and who is the Sovereign Ruler of events, the sacrifical offering of praise and grateful adoration. For, over and above the ordinary occurrences of this most wicked and un- righteous war which call forth our gratitude to the great God of heaven and earth, this is a signal mercy an extraordinary, if not miraculous deliverance. And as we set up in conspicuous places the statues of heroes and of illustrious patriots who have well de- served the praise and honor of their fellow-countrymen, thus uphold- ing their memory to future generations, and inciting others to the imitation of their valorous deeds, just so should we, as it were, in the loftiest and securest apartments of the soul, erect mementoes of the gracious dealings of a kind and watchful Providence, in order that our spirits, surveying the brilliant record of past distinguished ser-