Rev. Jones was enlisted as a Confederate Chaplain and active in helping to spread the Good News of both on the battlefield and off. Regimental chaplains were assisted by civilian evangelists from time to time, but for the most part they were the shepherds that followed their flocks into the field. They preached the Gospel regularly, held Bible classes and prayer meetings, and witnessed to the wounded.

Denominational and non-denominational Christian ministries and societies printed millions of pages of materials for the soldiers; Bibles, tracts, newspapers, journals, and books were sold or given to the soldiers. Jones wrote in the 1880s that "any history of that army which omits an account of the wonderful influence of religion upon it - which fails to tell how the courage, discipline, and morale of the whole was influenced by the humble piety and evangelical zeal of its officers and men, would be incomplete and unsatisfactory."

Jones spent twenty-two years collecting the stories, reports, and memoirs surrounding the great spiritual awakening that swept through the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. And as chaplain of the 13th Virginia Infantry, he maintained contact with fellow chaplains after the war, and, as secretary of the Southern Historical Society, cultivated a broad correspondence with many other veterans.

This book was the ultimate result of his labors and it remains a unique and powerful contribution to American history as it relates to the influence of the Gospel of Christ in the Southern Army. The narrative method of writing used by Rev. Jones includes many letters and transcripts from the war's participants. The result is a very personal and intimate look into the spiritual lives of the book's characters.

There are portraits of many chaplains and relevant and interesting appendices make the book even more appealing to both historical and biblical scholars.

Not limited to just the common soldiers Jones devoted three full chapters to the spiritual influence of Christian officers. He showed the importance of character and leadership as means used by God in the attending spiritual awakening. Certain generals eagerly promoted preaching and gave personal testimony of God's grace, especially Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, John B. Gordon, and others.

According to Jones, General John B. Gordon (LEFT) for instance, "was accustomed to leading prayer meetings in his command, and during seasons of special revival I have heard him, with eloquent words and tearful eyes, make powerful appeals to his men to come to Christ, and have seen him go off into the woods with his arms about some ragged private, that he might point him to 'the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.'"

He added that Gen. Gordon was "always the active friend and helper of the chaplains and did everything in his power to promote the spiritual welfare of his men." General Gordon survived five wounds at the Battle of Sharpsburg and rose to Corps command at the end of the war. One of my favorite historical subjects and a gentleman who I've written more about than any other is featured prominently in "Christ in the Camp."

This is of course Stonewall Jackson (RIGHT). "Old Jack" here was one of the South's most pious believers and the first high-ranking officer to personally lobby for chaplains, arguing that a soldier's mental state of mind directly affected his ability to perform on the battlefield. Jackson also regularly put forth an effort to introduce this philosophy to the rest of the southern army. After realizing a lack of participation in the war effort by the church, Jackson sent a letter to the Southern Presbyterian General Assembly, petitioning them for support.

In it he stated, "Each branch of the Christian Church should send into the army some of its most prominent ministers who are distinguished for their piety, talents and zeal; and such ministers should labor to produce concert of action among chaplains and Christians in the army.

These ministers should give special attention to preaching to regiments which are without chaplains, and induce them to take steps to get chaplains, to let the regiments name the denominations from which they desire chaplains selected, and then to see that suitable chaplains are secured." He added, "A bad selection of a chaplain may prove a curse instead of a blessing."

Despite the lack of readily available clergymen in the early Confederate Army, Jackson appointed a personal minister to his staff and maintained daily prayer rituals whether in camp or on the march. Whenever possible, a strict schedule of morning and evening worship on the Sabbath, as well as Wednesday prayer meetings, was adhered to at all costs.

One of our own local preachers, the chaplain Reverend Beverly Tucker Lacy (of the Presbyterian Church of Fredericksburg) routinely led the services, which were often attended by General Lee and his staff. As the courageous reputation of the "Stonewall Brigade" continued to grow, so did its quest for salvation. Jackson's own passion for sharing the Word and steadfast faith ultimately inspired his men to rise to the occasion and his beliefs became infectious throughout the ranks. By putting his trust in God, he was able to inspire those under him to achieve victory in the face of defeat. With total confidence, he routinely bragged of their bravery saying, "Who could not conquer with such troops as these?"

In addition, Reverend Lacy's energizing speeches quickly became a popular event for saved and unsaved soldiers alike, who attended his sermons by the thousands. Jackson recalled one particular event that summarized the success of their ministry. He wrote, "It was a noble sight to see there those, who led our armies to victory and upon whom the eyes of the nation are turned with admiration and gratitude, melted in tears at the story of the cross and the exhibition of the love of God to the repenting and return sinner."

Thanks to the good general's efforts and example, the Confederate Army soon began assigning chaplains to accompany its flocks into the field. Some of these shepherds even went so far as to participate in the fight, but most were stationed at camp for weekly rituals and ceremonies before and after the battle.

As expected, there were predominantly Protestant preachers in the South. The Catholic contingency was larger in the North's ranks, mostly due to the large population of immigrants. Regardless of the off-balance numbers of Protestants and Catholics, denominations were not important in the eyes of Jackson or his peers.

He specifically addressed this issue by stating that, "Denominational distinctions should be kept out of view, and not touched upon. And, as a general rule, I do not think a chaplain who would preach denominational sermons should be in the army. His congregation is his regiment, and it is composed of various denominations. I would like to see no question asked in the army of what denomination a chaplain belongs to; but let the question be, Does he preach the Gospel?"

Fortunately, clergy soon after became an integral part of military life that grew into a mandatory asset for an army, especially on deployment. Even today, the chaplains are still out in the field, providing our troops with spiritual nourishment. I have been contacted by several military clergymen over the years, most are interested in using my religious bio on Thomas Jackson and the Bible Study curriculum that was developed with it. All of them cite Stonewall as a major influence on how they conduct themselves. Several have written their doctoral thesis on Jackson's piety.

So I can see how Rev. Jones could end up writing an entirely separate book on Jackson as he did as one collective book was not enough to tell the General's story.

Other Christian officers, noncoms, and privates are also featured throughout the book. Their stories testified to God's saving grace. All of these Christians, whether enlisted or officer made a point of cultivating believers. Many led their comrades in prayer, held worship whenever possible and participated in Bible study. Their goal was the spread the message of Salvation through grace and it was most welcome in a war zone.

One particularly poignant example followed the first day of the Battle of Second Manassas. Jones writes about a Captain Hugh White, who had sacrificed his training for the gospel ministry to serve in the ranks and had led many of his own company to faith in Christ. White joined with his regiment's Colonel a gentleman named W. S. Baylor, who was also a recent convert, in a special prayer meeting. Of course hundreds of men had fallen that day and as a result, dozens of the anxious soldiers heard of hope in Jesus and heard prayers for courage to face death.

Col. Baylor and Capt. White used this unfortunate opportunity to strengthen their comrade's spirituality and many came to Christ on the spot. Leading their regiment the next day, both men were killed in action.

Beyond preaching, chaplains organized "Christian Associations" to provide support and accountability for the men in their care. They recorded casualties and wrote letters home to the families of the men dying in hospitals or killed in battle. They also drew up rules of behavior based on biblical commands regarding drunkenness, swearing, gambling, and other prevalent sins of the camp.

J. William Jones and other army pastors corresponded with some of the men who had professed Christ in the war and survived to the end. They rejoiced in the faithfulness and sincerity of those whose lives were eternally changed and who returned home to raise families and start new churches.