Thanksgiving is almost here. The Confederate States government did not have a Thanksgiving Day per say. However, the leaders of the Confederacy from President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee on down to Governors and Generals frequently issued proclamations of Thanksgiving calling on the people to look to God for their protection and victories.
As was his custom, General Lee called on three of his Chaplains to confer with him on certain problems. As they took leave, Chaplain B. T. Lacy of the Second Corps said, "I think it right that I should say to you, General Lee, that the chaplains of the Army of Northern Virginia have a deep interest in your welfare, and that some of the most frequent prayers that we offer are in your behalf." General Lee's face flushed and his eyes filled with tears, and he replied, "Please thank them for that, sir - I warmly appreciate it. And I can only say that I am nothing but a poor sinner, trusting in Christ alone for salvation, and need all the prayers that they can offer for me."
On February 15, President Jefferson Davis issued the following proclamation in these words of pure religious devotion:
"It is meet and right, therefore, that we should repair to the only Giver of all victory, and humbling ourselves before Him, should pray that He may strengthen our confidence in His mighty power and righteous judgments. Then may we surely trust in Him that He will perform His promise and encompass us with a shield. In this trust and to this end, I Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, do hereby set apart Friday, the 28th day of February instant, as a day of fasting, thanksgiving and prayer; and I do hereby invite the reverend clergy and the people of the Confederate States to repair to their respective places of public worship, to humble themselves before Almighty God, and pray for His protection and favor for our beloved country, and that we may be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us."
General Lee's orders and reports always gratefully recognized God as the "Giver of victory in his reports and General Orders from the front. Here are a few examples: Headquarters, June 27, 1862
To: His excellency, President Davis:
"Mr. President: Profoundly grateful to Almighty God for the signal victory granted to us, it is my pleasing task to announce to you the success achieved by this army to-day." Headquarters, A.N. VA. December 31, 1862 General Order No. 132.
The general commanding takes this occasion to express to the officers and soldiers of the army his high appreciation of the fortitude, valor and devotion displayed by them, which under the blessing of Almighty God, have added the victory of Fredericksburg to the long list of their triumphs." Headquarters, A.N. VA., August 13, l863 General Order No. 83
"The President of the Confederate States has, in the name of the people, appointed the 21st day of August as a day of fasting humiliation and prayer. A strict observance of the duty is enjoined upon the officers and soldiers of this army. All military duties, except such as are absolutely necessary, will be suspended. The commanding officers of brigades and regiments are requested to cause divine services, suitable to the occasion, to be performed in their respective commands. Soldiers! we have performed in their respective commands. Soldiers! we have sinned against Almighty God. We have forgotten His signal mercies, and have cultivated a revengeful, haughty, and boastful spirit. We have not remembered that the defenders of a just cause should be pure in His eyes; that 'our times are in His hands;' and we have relied too much on our own arms for the achievement of our independence. God is our only refuge and our strength. Let us humble ourselves before Him. Let us confess our many sins, and beseech Him to give us a higher courage, a purer patriotism and more determined will; that He will convert the hearts of our enemies; that He will hasten the time when war, with its sorrows and sufferings, shall cease, and that He will give us a name and place among the nations of the earth." (signed) R. E. Lee, General Commanding
Our present Thanksgiving, a very happy holiday when we attend family reunions and are united with loved ones, who often live far away, should also be a time to thank God for His many blessings and goodness to us. As Southerners, we should also thank God for our beloved Southland, and strengthen our determination, to with His blessing, to do all we can to win the present cultural war which threatens our very existence as Southerners. Your Chaplains' Corps wishes you all a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving and also to remind you for the coming Advent and Christmas Season. May our families and our faith in God, and His Son, who was born in the winters' darkness to be the Light of the World forever be at the center of all that we do in this glorious season of the year!
Even though we live in a very sinful society, we must rejoice that slavery is no longer a part of it. We must realize that had Mr. Lincoln, not broken faith with the Constitution and invaded our beloved South, slavery would have been abolished by agricultural technology, long before the end of the century, probably by about 1890 or shortly thereafter. We would still be the free Constitutional Republic which our forefathers envisioned and we would have much better race relations today in all parts of our country. Lincoln and his minions, tried to run ahead of our sovereign God and, as a result destroyed our fair Southland and turned America into a large and somewhat irresponsible Democracy, as both Thornwell and Dabney, in almost the same words, foretold.
Chaplain: Rev. Bob Slimp