|Brig. Gen. Mark P. Lowrey|
often preached to his troops.
In General Wood’s brigade a meeting of great interest has for several weeks been under the supervision of Rev. F. A. Kimball, chaplain of the 16th Alabama, assisted mainly by Colonel Reed, Chief of Provost Marshal Department, in Hardee’s corps, and Col. Lowery, of the 45th and 32d Mississippi, the result of which has been one hundred conversions. In the same brigade, Chaplin Otkin, of Col. Lowery's regiment, has been conducting religious services, which, from the best information received, has been productive of great good in restoring many wanderers to their former enjoyments and inducting abut forty-five souls into the kingdom of Christ.
I was present at a great open-air preaching at General Wood's camp. Bishop Elliott preached most admirably to a congregation composed of nearly 3000 soldiers, who listened to him with the most profound attention. Generals Bragg, Polk, Hardee, Withers, Cleburne, and endless brigadiers, were also present. It is impossible to exaggerate the respect paid by all ranks of this army to Bishop Elliott; and although most of the officers are Episcopalians, the majority of the soldiers are Methodists, Baptists, &c.
It is also well documented that (Reverend) Col. Lowery frequently exhorted his 32nd Mississippi Regiment from the Scriptures, often in the moments before leading them into battle. I have read such accounts, not only referenced here around Tullahoma, but also in the Atlanta Campaign, and again at the Battle of Franklin, the latter two occasions as a brigadier general.2 How different from the secular pre-battle scenes in America's present War on Terror!
1 Capt. Daniel Coleman probably described this meeting in his diary for Sunday, May 31, 1863: "Heard a fine sermon today from Bishop Elliot of the Methodist Episcopal Church - It was full of deep piety & lofty patriotism - Our whole brigade was present - Genl Bragg - Genl Polk -Genl Hardee & other Generals were there - I pray that it may yield much fruit - to the honor and glory of our Heavenly Master" (Huntsville Historical Review, Vol 26, No. 2. 1999: Transcription of Diary, Univ. North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
2 Gen. William J. Hardee once commended Lowrey for being "the parson soldier, who preached to his men in camp and fought with them in the field with equal earnestness and effect."