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Major General Ambrose E. Burnside—A Devout Christian
General Ambrose E. Burnside arrived in Knoxville to the cheers of people who lined the crowded streets to welcome the Union army. Almost immediately upon his arrival, he ...

Major General Ambrose E. Burnside—A Devout Christian

General Ambrose E. Burnside arrived in Knoxville to the cheers of people who lined the crowded streets to welcome the Union army. Almost immediately upon his arrival, he sent word to the Reverend Thomas Humes to resume services at St. John Episcopal Church. Burnside attended the services and the sermon was taken from Psalm 30 which said, “I will magnify thee, O Lord; for thou hast set me up, and not made my foes to triumph over me.”

Further insight into Burnside’s Christian character can be found in Gordon Seymour’s book, Divided Loyalties:

General Burnside himself was a deeply devout Christian. At Camp Nelson on August 14, just before his invasion of East Tennessee, he issued the following order to the Army of the Ohio: “Whenever regimental evening dress parades are held, it shall be the duty of the commanding officer to see that the chaplain, or some proper person, in his absence, holds some short religious service, such as the reading of a portion of the Scripture, with appropriate prayer for the protection and assistance of divine protection.”

Burnside believed that providing his men with religious services was his duty. His concern was that they have daily Scripture reading and prayer. It is refreshing that a general of the United States Army realized the value of spiritual warfare. Undoubtedly, Burnside believed that our greatest battle was not with “flesh and blood.” The Word of God has been given to Christians to fight Satan and his demons (Eph. 6:17). Paul reminds us that prayer is a powerful way to invoke God’s protection as he surrounds us with his angels in tough times.

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 32:7



William Tecumseh Sherman

The National Archives


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