24 November 1861: “This war is working harm to the church, I fear.”

Item description: Jesse Bernard explains the devastating impact the war had on the church and other spiritual and moral efforts.

Item citation: From folder 3 in the Jesse and Overton Bernard #62-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

November 1861

Sunday afternoon 24th. How swiftly time flies! The old year has almost gone, and how much of it has been unprofitably spent. Our dear Bettie has now been gone over two months and we have never been separated from her so long before. We hear from her quite regularly and the accounts from her studies were quite satisfactory. Last Sunday week, our late pastor, Rev. T.A. Carruth, preached his farewell sermon in Newnansville. We will not have regular preaching again until January next, as the Conference does not meet until the 10th next month and allowing a week for the close of its labors, there remain but two weeks before 1st January.

Our Church is in a very low state and the Sunday School nearly extinct. This morning, we had but four scholars including my little Overton – no male teachers and only two female teachers – no girls present. This war is working harm to the church, I fear. The public mind is so engrossed as to lose sight of spiritual things. Nothing good seems to prosper in our town. The Division of Sons of Temperance, that in the beginning of the year, started under such favorable auspices, has gone down, and I fear, will not be resusicated directly. There has not been but one meeting since 1st July and I have not presided since I as elected V.P. in June. There has been and still is much sickness in the country during this summer and present Fall, and as we have had several frosts, I am in hopes that it will abate. The resent war is assuming gigantic proportions. Great battles momentarily looked for in Kentucky and Virginia, Port Royal in S.C. is taken and Pensacola is now being attacked. May God bless our arms and defend us from the hands of our enemies. Though the odds are against us, my trust is in Him who alone giveth the victory.

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