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Civil War POW chaplain "Letter of Recommendation" to Union soldier


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#1 Bob Hudson

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 05:48 PM

I am familiar with the "Letters of Recommendation from Pastor to church members" used by some denominations and this appears to be one written in 1865 by John W. Lane, Chaplain, 80th Illinois "pastor Union Army Church," 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Army Corps. I am helping a friend liquidate her CW collection and she mentioned a bible carried by a Union soldier - which is cool. But when she showed me folded papers in back of the small bible, my focus changed when I saw the the Chaplain's letter written as part of his official duties. How common are official documents from Union chaplains? 
 
The bible was carried by Isaiah P. Watts who became prominent in Indiana political and public affairs: a detailed bio is at http://www.ingenweb....ies/WattsIP.htm

 

Enlisted in Company H, Indiana 84th Infantry Regiment on 14 Aug 1862.Mustered out on 14 Jun 1865 at Nashville, TN.

 

Inside the cover he wrote a note about the bible being carried in the war. 

 
THROUGH THE WAR 1861

TO 1865 IN MY KNAPSACK

 

I.P. WATTS

 

 

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#2 Bob Hudson

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 05:50 PM

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#3 Bob Hudson

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 06:26 PM

The name Inez Watts is written in the bible: Inez became the wife of E. F. Tibbott, who was private secretary to President Benjamin Harrison.

 

That's great provenance.



#4 Chap15

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 06:29 AM

Awesome.



#5 Bugme

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 06:59 AM

Unbelievable find Bob! So much of the duties and ways of Chaplains were not overly organized in the Union Army. So, I am not sure there is a real answer to your question other than Chaplain documents were rare.

#6 Bob Hudson

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 07:54 AM

So much of the duties and ways of Chaplains were not overly organized in the Union Army. 

 

I love that name:  "UNION ARMY CHURCH" - in today's California church-naming parlance, it'd be named THE BLUE or something equally vague.

 

The soldier who carried the bible was prominent in public affairs, succesful in business and also became a preacher. From the link above:

 

For a number of years he acted as pension agent in Winchester and had the satisfaction of aiding many a comrade and many a widow and orphan to secure the aid awarded by a grateful country. In addition to his official duties, Mr. Watts for some time had personal charge of the Christian church of Winchester. Although he was regarded as one of the successful and learned lawyers of Randolph county and had built up a lucrative practice, he readily gave this up and devoted his attention to the ministry of the gospel, believing that thereby he could accomplish more good for his fellow men, and he ranks high in the ministry of the denomination mentioned above, with which he identified himself in early life. He is an earnest, forceful and at times truly eloquent speaker, ever active and zealous in the work of the church, self-sacrificing in his devotion to the same. He was for a period of three years pastor of the Christan church at Alexandria besides preaching at various other points. He became interested in the sudden material growth of the town of Alexandria in 1892, and he was elected president of the Phillips Land & Gas Company, in which he was a heavy stockholder and his able management and honest dealings resulted in great success for this company. He was a most potent factor in securing for the town of Alexandria factories and enterprising citizens, and it eventually became one of the most flourishing centers in the gas belt of Indiana, and the town owes him a debt of gratitude that it can never pay. The daily affairs of Mr. Watts have ever been governed by a high sense of honor and right, and he has therefore always had the confidence and good will of all who knew him. He has ever proved himself a faithful and efficient servant of the people, prompt and courteous in the transaction of his duties, ever keeping the best interests of the general public foremost. In the year 1903 he was elected representative from Randolph county to the legislature and served one term to the eminent satisfaction of his constituents. On January 1, 1906 he was appointed door-keeper of the United States Senate and was in Washington four years as a result of this appointment, and he proved to be a popular and faithful man for that post. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was departmental chaplain for that organization when the great Soldiers' and Sailors' monument was dedicated in Indianapolis. While a member of the legislature he introduced the bill providing for the imposing monument of Indiana's famous war governor, Oliver P. Morton, which now graces Capitol Square, Indianapolis. Mr. Watts was a candidate for Congress from the Eighth Congressional district in 1910, but was defeated; and in 1912 he was nominated for the same office without opposition, and made an excellent campaign, but went down, in the general Republican defeat of that year, Randolph county going Democratic for the first time in fifty years; He is a pension attorney and is still practicing law with a wide clientele, maintaining an office in the Kizerbuilding, North Main street, Winchester, and he also keeps up his ministry, devoting about one-half of his time to the affairs of the Christian church, and is at this writing pastor of a congregation in Indianapolis. He is indeed a tireless worker in the vineyard of the Lord. Although past his seventy-third year he is in full possession of his faculties, hale and active as a result of his wholesome life and right thinking.



#7 Bob Hudson

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 08:26 AM

As for Chaplain JW Lane: just found out he was what one newpaper called "a fighting parson" and acted as a Major in command of the left wing of Col Abel Streight's regiment during the 1863 Raid into Alabama.

 

He and Streight were POW's at Libby Prison in Richmond for 10 months: Lane was released in a prisoner exchange a few days before Streight and 107 other soldiers escaped from Libby by tunnelling from their barracks,

 

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#8 Bob Hudson

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 09:06 AM

I found online a report from Chaplain Lane to the Adj, Gen. in Washington:

 

Transcript of letter to Adjutant Gen. US Army Washington DC

 

Chaplain's Quarters 80th Regt Ill Inf Vols

In the field near Atlanta, Ga Aug 1 1864

 

The undersigned officer would respectfully beg leave to submit the following report for the month ending July 31, 1864. Number sermons preached four.  Prayer meetings held and attended five. The 80th Illinois Regiment was on the march one sabbath and on picket duty one Sabbath so I could only hold services on three Sabbaths during the month.

 

The moral condition of the regiment I report very good. We have but few men guilty of open profanity or popular gaming. During the month of July one man was killed and 16 wounded in action. Two of the wanted have died in field hospital. Sanitary condition of the regiment only moderate.

 

Respectfully submitted John W Lane., Chaplin 80th Regt Ill Inf Vols

 

 

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#9 644td

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 09:19 AM

Fantastic bible and history. He came through Alabama, sorry for the poor southern hospitality at the time.

Marty

#10 Bob Hudson

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 09:40 AM

... sorry for the poor southern hospitality at the time.

Marty

 

Yes, I understand all the Yanks wanted was a Waffle House. 



#11 Bob Hudson

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 09:48 AM

This little excerpt is quite interesting: Lane was himself Methodist and it sounds like he got into a tussle with a Confederate Methodist Chaplain while POW at Libby.

 

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That must've been a lively theology discussion.

 



#12 644td

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 11:01 AM

Methodist against a Methodist, I would understand a Baptist and a Methodist disagreement about sprinkling or dunking LOL!!!!

Marty


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