Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Prayer in Battle

Posted in Leadership by Andy Hall on October 24, 2010

If a man is good he thinks all men are more or less worthy; if bad he makes all mankind co-defendants. That comes of looking into his own heart and fancying that he surveys the world. Naturally the Rev. W. S. Hubbell, Chaplain in the Loyal Legion, is a praying man, as befits him. When in trouble he asks God to help him out. So he assumes that all others do the same. At a recent meeting of a Congregational Club to do honor to General Howard on that gentleman’s seventieth birthday (may he have a seventy-first) Dr. Hubbell said: “I bear personal testimony that if ever a man prays in his life it is in the midst of battle.”

My personal testimony is the other way. I have been in a good many battles, and in my youth I used some times to pray — when in trouble. But I never prayed in battle. I was always too much preoccupied to think about it. Probably Dr. Hubbell was misled by hearing in the battle the sacred Name spoken on all sides with great frequency and fervency. And probably he was too busy with his own devotions to observe, or, observing, did not understand the mystic word that commonly followed — which, as nearly as I can recollect, was “Dammit.”

Ambrose Bierce, San Fransisco Examiner, December 2, 1900


The Loyal Legion was a group of Federal military officers pledged to defend the Union against an ongoing, Confederate insurgency in the immediate aftermath of President Lincoln’s assassination. It included many of the most famous officers in the Union military, including Grant, Sherman, and Farragut. No widespread insurrection developed, of course, and over time the Legion evolved into a fraternal and heritage organization.