Saturday, March 23, 2013

March 23, 1863 (Wednesday): A Day of Fasting and Prayer

President Jefferson Davis


Numbers 46.
March 23, 1863.
    In obedience to the proclamation of the President of the Confederate States, setting apart Friday, the 27th of March, as a day of fasting and prayer for the nation, all duties will be suspended on that day in the Army of Northern Virginia, except such as are necessary for its safety and subsistence. Religious services appropriate to the occasion will be performed by the chaplains in their respective regiments.
Soldiers! no portion of our people have greater cause to be thankful to Almighty God than yourselves. He has preserved your lives amidst countless dangers; He has been with you in all your trials; He has given you fortitude under hardships, and courage in the shock of battle; He has cheered you by the example and by the deeds of your martyred comrades; He has enabled you to defend your country successfully against the assault of a powerful oppressor. Devoutly thankful for His signal mercies, let us bow before the Lord Hosts, and join our hearts with millions in our land in prayer "that He will continue His merciful protection over our cause; that He will scatter our enemies and set at naught their evil designs, and that He will graciously restore to our beloved country the blessings of peace and security."

     R. E. LEE,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Page 683.

Such observances were declared by Lincoln and Davis at various times throughout the war.  The invocation of religious calls to sacrifice were sincerely felt by men on both sides.  In this instance there was a prevailing opinion in the South the Union army would soon move to attack and that events were progressing to a critical juncture. 

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