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Clarksville Civil War Roundtable’s next meeting is June 20th, 2012

 

The 99th  Meeting

Clarksville Civil War RoundtableClarksville, TN – The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, June 20th at the Bone & Joint Center, 980 Professional Park Drive, right across the street from Gateway Hospital.  This is just off Dunlop Lane and Holiday Drive and only a few minutes east of Governor’s Square mall.  The meeting begins at 7:00pm and is always open to the public.  Members please bring a friend or two – new recruits are always welcomed.

The meetings topic is “Onward Southern Soldiers: Religion In The Army of Tennessee”

Religion laid the foundation upon which Southern nationalism was built, unified people from different backgrounds and classes, and provided a spiritual reason for the yeoman farmer to fight in a war driven by the issue of slavery. Evidence of this can be found throughout political speeches and military orders, as well as Sunday sermons and soldiers’ diaries which are thoroughly researched and documented in Onward Southern Soldiers.

Politicians, generals, bishops, chaplains and common soldiers alike constantly spoke of their faith, their existence in the will of God, the sacred nature of the Confederate defensive war, their total dependence on God, and the certainty that God would deliver complete victory to His Southern people.

A flood of religious writings inundated the Confederate army. Ministers utilized sermons, tracts and religious newspapers in order to promote a rebellion against perceived tyranny and injustice for the proposed purpose of securing religious freedom. Religious newspapers contained fiery speech designed to fan into flames the passions of the soldiers.

Through this inundation of religious material circulated throughout the Confederate army, ministers reinforced and even extended the official Confederate message that God was on the side of the Confederacy. From the church house to the statehouse, the clergy led the way into secession and war. Ministers established a religious doctrine which created an image of the Christian soldier who far more resembled an Old Testament warrior than a New Testament disciple.

Southern ministers drew a connection between protecting home and protecting the altar of Christ. As with the Southern gentleman ideal of the antebellum period, God and honor were undeniably and eternally joined together. In this view, one could not live as a Christian and not protect one’s family and one’s home.

The Army of Tennessee saw many defeats at the hand of the Union army. Confederates needed religion in their most trying hour, and they clung to their faith even after all appeared to be lost. When all was lost, as good disciples, they accepted the blame for their defeats, acknowledging their sins, which they believed alone, destroyed their cause, and they continued to bless God, who, as so many soldiers had written in their diaries, always does that which is right.

This month’s speakers are Traci and Gordon Belt, authors of a book from which this program is taken.  Traci Nichols-Belt is an ordained and licensed minister and holds a master’s degree in history from Middle Tennessee State University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Anderson University.  Traci wrote two National Register nominations for the Johnsonville Historic District in New Johnsonville, Tennessee, and the Historical AME Church and Cemeteries in Alexandria, Tennessee.  She has also written for the Tennessee Historical Quarterly.

Her husband Gordon Belt is an information professional, archives advocate, and public historian. He currently works as the library manager for the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and has written several articles for the First Amendment Center website on legislative issues and history.

Gordon holds a master’s degree in history from Middle Tennessee State University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  He is the current president of the Society of Tennessee Archivists, and is the founding editor and publisher of The Posterity Project, an award-winning blog devoted to issues related to archives, history, and social media advocacy for cultural heritage.

Please join us for another informative meeting of the Clarksville Civil War Roundtable.


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