Our Camp Chaplain Reverend Russ Farmer provides encouraging words from Book of Good News.
In these dark times, some hope and relief.


In 1862, in the Shenandoah Valley of VA, successive victories in battle were enjoyed by General Stonewall Jackson and his Confederate army of 16,000 men over four different Federal armies numbering 63,000. In one such battle, due to his superb strategy, his mens' toughness, and most of all, what Jackson believed to be the intervention of God, a victory was literally pulled from defeat. General Jackson touched the arm of a subordinate and pointed out the Federal troops as they fled the field, pursued by his ragged “Foot Cavalry.” He remarked, “He who does not see the hand of God in this is blind sir. Blind!”

“I call upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me and set me in a large place.” Ps. 118:5 (KJV) All of our victories in life have been due solely to the help of God.

Father, how comforting it is to know that Your eye is always on us. How many times have we cried out to You, and You have rescued us! You have lifted us up out of a pit and have made our feet like the feet of a deer, and have set us upon high places. Thank You!

Knowing Who We Are

In Fredericksburg, Virginia, a young lady was asked if she was from Virginia. Her reply was that she was not just from Virginia, but that she was a Virginian. “There is a difference. Knowing who we are is a large part of our heritage.”

“The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup; Thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places. Yea, I have a goodly heritage,” (Ps 16:5,6 KJV)

Father, You are our portion, our inheritance. In You we have our identity; we are fully complete. Let us never be satisfied with anything less than being a warrior grateful for the wonderful heritage of You.


Thomas J. Jackson was opposed to secession, but when Virgina voted to secede, Jackson offered his services to Virgina. This was after Lincoln had called for 75,000 volunteers to force the secding states back into the Union. At the same time Col. Jackson (before he was named Stonewall) believed that the whole isssue had to do with honor and freedom. These were his words: "What is life without honor? Degradation is worse than death. We must think of the living and of those who are to come after us, and see that by God's blessing we transmit to them the freedom we have ourselves inherited."

"A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children" Proverbs 13:23a (KJV). Inheritance mean infinitely more than mere material goods.

Father, help us to pass on to those who come after us an inheritance of character, truth, and righteousness that points them to you.

Watching Over Their Struggle

Southerners assumed God was fighting on their side during the War, but even believing this, many white citizens of the South still needed to be reassured from time to time. In the spring of 1863 the Confederacy had started to turn the tide on the war against the Union with military triumphs in Virginia at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville while Southern forces moved north into the underbelly of Pennsylvania. But following a crushing defeat at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in early July and a hasty retreat back across the Mason-Dixon Line, Southern spirits in late August of 1863 were low.

Perhaps sensing this, Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America, issued a proclamation that declared Friday August 21, 1863 a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. Davis asked that all people who believeth that the Lord reigneth and that his overruling Providence ordereth all things--to unite in prayer and humble submission under his chastening hand, and to beseech his favor on our suffering country.

The Confederate war effort was aided through the involvement of religious denominations. In Georgia, church congregations collected goods and supplies and distributed them amongst Confederate soldiers. Preachers, like Elliot, who was elected the first Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Georgia in 1840, often propagated intense biblical ideologies, tying the Confederate struggle against the Northern oppressors to that of a Holy crusade. Religious revivals were also frequently held as a means to boost morale.

Citizens in the South took heavy solace in the belief that God, a higher power, was watching over their struggle.

Like A Stone Wall

At 3:30 on the afternoon of July 21, 1861 at the battle of 1st Manassas, after standing "like a stone wall" on Henry House Hill, and blunting the Union Army attack, Stonewall Jackson was readying his troops for a counterattack. These were his instructions: "Hold your fire until they're on you. Then fire and give them the bayonet. And when you charge, yell like furies!" They did and charged with the whole Confederate line of twenty-thousand. Thus the "rebel yell" was born.

"And they cried, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon" (Judges 8:20b KJV). As we Christians trust and obey our great leader, He enables us to stand like a stone wall.

Father, there is a cry to strengthen men's resolve in battle, and there is a cry to celebrate a victory achieved and a war won. "It is finished," is that cry. Than You, Lord Jesus, for your victory at the cross.


General Albert Sidney Johnston's message to his troops prior to the Battle of Shilo, TN: "Remember the precious stake involved. Remember the dependence of your mothers, your wives, your sisters, and your children on the result; remember the fair, broad, abounding land, the happy homes and the ties that would be desolate by your defeat." Our lives have a powerful effect for good or for evil on those we love most. They may be blessed by our victories or hurt by our defeats. "O Lord, be gracious to us; we have waited for Thee. Be Thou their army every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble" (Isaiah 33:2 KJV)

Father, help us to be responsible to those who depend on us while we depend on You for everything.

God's Independence Day

Most Americans have celebrated Independence Day in their lifetime. The smell of burgers and hotdogs sizzling on the grill outside and the bursting of fireworks in the sky become familiar on July 4th. However, an Independence Day celebration approaches that will include and impress the whole world! We don’t know the date and shouldn't believe anyone who tells us they do. But, no one on earth or in heaven will miss its importance, and it will mark a day of freedom from the greatest oppressor ever – Satan. It is the day of the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! It is the beginning of real freedom, like no one has ever had before (except Adam and Eve before they sinned). Those who have believed in Christ’s atoning blood for their sins and have trusted and believed in Him, might have what an old preacher used to call "a Hallelujah breakdown!"

This Independence Day will release Christians from the many sins that keep them entangled. Imagine, no more sickness, no more addictions, no more gossip, no more unkindness, no more anything that does not reflect the positive attributes of the love of our Father God and our Lord Jesus Christ. It won’t matter how we interpret end times scriptures when God’s day of Independence comes. Everything will be revealed in God’s perfect timing. The Independence Day of our God will come when we least expect it and we are instructed to be ready as if it were the next moment. So, in case it happens to be today, Happy Independence Day!

How Short My Time Is

Seventeen year old William McDowell entered Virginia Military Institute just eight months before the battles of New Market, VA. He was one of ten cadets who died of wounds received during the fight. McDowell's classmate, John Wise, wrote of his friend's death: "A little removed from the spot where VMI Cadet William Cabell fell, and near the enemy, lay McDowell, it was a sight to wrings one heart. That little boy was laying there asleep, more fit, indeed, for the cradle than the grave. He had torn open his jacket and shirt, and even in death, lay clutching then back, exposing a fair breast with its red wound." "Remember how short my time is " (Ps 89:49a KJV) "For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14b KJV). The soul's pearl preeminent of worth. The best way to respect it's value is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Father, help us to remember that the content of our life is more important than its extent. Help us today to live for Christ

Prayer for Genealogists

Lord, help me dig into the past and sift the sands of time
that I might find the roots that made this family tree of mine.
Lord, help me trace the ancient roads on which my fathers trod
and led them through so many lands to find our present sod.

Lord, help me find an ancient book or dusty manuscript
That's safely hidden now away In some forgotten crypt.
Lord, let it bridge the gap that haunts my soul when I can't find
the missing link between some name that ends the same as mine.
(Author Unknown)

Many Who Mistakenly Believe

There are many who still mistakenly believe that the single purpose of the war of Northern Aggression was over slavery. Robert E. Lee declared that the institution of slavery was a moral and politically evil in any country. Long before the war he freed the slaves his wife had inheriated. President Jefferson Davis said that even said that even if the Confederacy was successful in winning the War for Independence, slavery was doomed, and the Southern states would sooner or later, by one means or another, set the slaves free. General Joe Johnson never owned a slave. Neither did General A. P. Hill or General Fitzhugh Lee, Robert E. Lee's nephew. Union General U. S. Grant had slaves and held them until the 13th Amendment set them free. Grant had said, "If I thought this war to abolish slavery, I would resign my commission and offer my sword to the other side."
"He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him" Prov 18:13 KJV
Often conflicts, whether military or political, are more complex than history text book writers describe them.
Father, help us to gather all the facts about a situation before we make a judgment.

Pride Before Destruction

After taking command of the Union Army of the Potomac in Virginia in the spring of 1863, Gen Joseph Hooker said "May GOD have mercy on Bobby Lee, for I will have none." In May of that year the Union Army was soundly routed at the battle of Chancelorville, Virginia with causalities of seventeen thousand. The Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by Robert E. Lee, accomplished this. General Hooker was removed from command some months later. Even our greatest abilities are not the result of our own doing; GOD gave us the abilities when He made us, and the glory should be attributed to Him. "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Prov 16:18 KJV)

Father, what is there in which we can be prideful? What can we boast about except that we know You and, more importantly, that you know us. Amen

Part Of The Genius

Part of the genius of Robert E. Lee was the ability to put himself in the place of the Union General that opposed him. This enabled him to anticipate the enemy's plans and movements. A host of Union commanding generals came against him: first George McClellan, then John Pope, then McClellan again, Ambrose Burnside, Joe Hooker, George Meade, and finally U. S. Grant. Lee's military brilliance enabled him to win victory after victory in spite of overwhelming odds.
"I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts" Ps. 119:100 KJV
Meditating on God's Word has temporal and eternal benefits.
Father, General Lee knew where his brilliance and military genius came from. He was always quick to give You the glory for any success, and he assumed blame for anything that could be regarded as a failure. Please help us to emulate those qualities.

Granny Lee
After General Joseph Johnston was wounded, the command of the Confederate army was given to Robert E. Lee. Some of his troops privately called him, Old Granny Lee for his appearance, and the King of Spades for all the fortifications that were dug on the Atlantic Coast under his supervision. Yet he is regarded now as one of history's great military geniuses.
Few of us will be counted among the great and mighty, but each of us has a hidden treasure, a gift from God Almighty, that can be used for His glory. For the Lord seeth not as a man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart ( 1 Samuel 16:13 KJV)
Father, we are not to judge anyone, and especially not for their appearance. Help us to understand that You love every person. Each one is of great value because of that.

Rejoice Not

At Fort Towson in Indian Territory, which is now Oklahoma, General Stand Waite surrendered the last Confederate fighting force on June 23, 1865 nearly 3 months after General Lee had surrendered to Grant. General Waite was a veteran of the battles of Wilson's Creek, Elk Horn, Prairie Grove, and many lesser fights. He had also taken part in the Trail of Tears from Georgia to Oklahoma. His force was made up of various men from the Cherokee (his own tribe), Creek, Seminole and Osage tribes.
"Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth" (Prov 24:17 KJV)
It does not glorify GOD to sneer at vanquished enemies.
Father, remind us that we lose nothing when we glorify You by reflecting Your honor, courage, character, and integrity. These things will last forever.

And The Graves Were Opened
After the war there were no Federal cemeteries for the Confederate dead. Nearly all the Southern dead were buried in crude graves on the battlefield, some in mass graves such as at Shiloh, TN