Bishop’s Address of 1864

By The Rt. Rev. Stephen Elliott
First Bishop of Georgia


The Original Document

Another eventful year has passed away, full of activity, of affliction, of suffering, and yet, through the mercy of God, we have all been spared and are permitted to meet once again to consult together for the advancement of Christ’s Holy Church, and to sympathize with one another in our blessings and in our griefs. May the Holy Spirit of God preside over our consultations and crown them with wisdom, with prudence, and with holiness.

Compared with the sufferings of several of our Dioceses, our trials have been as nothing. While they have been devastated, our Diocese has continued almost unharmed. While their Clergy and Laity have been scattered, and are now finding refuge among their Christian friends, ours have been permitted to continue in the enjoyment of home and of Church. While many of their Church edifices have been defiled and desecrated, ours have yet been polluted by the tread of ungodly men. The enemy has approached our borders and threatened our heritage, and put a stop to some sacred work, but he has been turned back from our soil, by Him who holds in his hands the hearts of men and says to them, “Thus far shalt thou go and no farther,” For these many mercies, may we render to God our heart thanks, and together praise and bless his holy name.

Our church work during the past Ecclesiastical year has been very abundant. The solemn aspect of the times, the constant presence of danger, the load of anxiety which has been pressed upon the heart, have worked together to lead many to humble themselves at the foot of Jesus’ Cross, and to offer themselves to his service. In no year since the commencement of my Episcopate, have I confirmed so many persons, nor admitted to the Communion of the Church so many young and active men, preparing, I trust, for future usefulness in her work upon earth. The devastated condition of our neighboring Dioceses has lent us the help of many very efficient Clergymen, who have been working most actively for Christ in various portions of the Diocese. Their services have been abounding, and will be distinctly and specially reverted to in their place and time. Having been severed from their own congregations, they have not lost faith nor courage, but have carried on their labors of love as heartily in another Diocese, as if they had still been working among those who knew and loved them. They have thus illustrated the glorious oneness of the Church of Christ, and have found, I trust, that we too have understood that we are all one in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My first act during this Ecclesiastical year, was the confirmation in the Church of the Atonement, Augusta, on the fifth Sunday of Easter, May 10th, of nine persons.

In the afternoon of the same day I confirmed in St. Paul’s Church, Augusta, seventeen persons, one of whom was a colored servant, a refugee from the mission of the Rev. W. C. Williams on the Ogeechee.

In pursuance of the instructions of our Diocesan Council, I issued, during the week, a Pastoral, calling upon the Parishes for enlarged liberality to our Missionaries and setting forth a plan for sending Missionaries to the Army of Tennessee and North Western Georgia. This appeal was most liberally responded and most heartily carried out, as will be seen by the report of the Diocesan Treasurer, and by the detail of duties performed by our Missionaries to the army during the summer and autumn.

Sunday after Ascension, May 17th, I visited Trinity Church, Columbus, and confirmed at night, sixteen persons.
Tuesday May 19th, I reached Talbotton and confirmed on the next day, May 20th, in Zion Church, five persons. Mr. Starr has labored very faithfully with this little Parish, and is proving himself a patient workman in the vineyard of the Lord.

Thursday, May 21st, I set out for the Army of the West, then encamped at Shelbyville, Tennessee, under the command of General Bragg. I was met at that point by my friend Lieutenant General Polk, with whom I spent a fortnight in most delightful communion, enjoying the hospitalities of his temporary home. Dr. Quintard, then acting nominally as Chaplain of one of the Tennessee Regiments, but really as Missionary to all Episcopalians scattered every where through the army, had prepared everything for my visit, and made my movements effective and agreeable. Without his most valuable co-operation, I should have been unable to have accomplished, during the limited time I was with the army, one half the work that was done.

On Sunday, May 24th, I officiated in the Presbyterian church in Shelbyville, that building having been kindly tendered to Dr. Quintard for our use by the elders of the Church. In the morning, service was read by Dr. Qunitard, and I preached. In the afternoon of the same Lord’s day I officiated again in the same Church, and confirmed ten persons, all connected with the army, and presented by Dr. Quintard. It was a very novel sight to see a very large church, crowded in every part with officers and soldiers only, there not being, in the whole edifice, more than a dozen of the other sex. The attention of this large body of soldiers was earnest and like men who were thoughtful about their souls. It gave hope for the future of both the army and the church.

On Monday afternoon, May 25th, I preached to the brigade of General Maney, of Tennessee, at their camp ground, Dr. Quintard having made the appointment for me, and reading the service. The attendance was quite large and the interest pleasant.

On Tuesday afternoon, May 26th, Dr. Quintard and myself drove six miles to the front to the brigade of General Manigault of South Carolina. He was on out-post duty, and removed only a few miles from the pickets of General Rosencranz’ army. His while brigade was in attendance, having been marched to the grove arranged for the service, under arms. Dr. Quintard commenced the service, but having been taken very sick, I concluded it for him, baptizing one of the Captains of the brigade. I then preached to the assembled officers and soldiers, seated upon the ground in concentric circles. After service we returned to Shelbyville.

Thursday morning, May 28th, we went over to Wartrace, the Head Quarters of General Hardee, where we were most hospitably entertained by Mrs. Erwin. The Presbyterian Church in the neighborhood was most kindly tendered to us, and Dr. Quintard officiated to a congregation of officers, soldiers and ladies, hastily gathered together. In the afternoon I was to have addressed the brigades of General Woods and General Lucius Polk, but rain coming on, and the service being arranged for open air, it was thought best to postpone it for a future occasion.

The next day, Friday, May 29th, the rain still continuing, we returned to Shelbyville, having made an appointment at Wartrace for Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, May 31st, Trinity Sunday, I preached in the morning at Shelbyville, The Presbyterian Church having been again very kindly tendered to us. After sermon and a very able address by Dr. Quintard upon the subject of Confirmation, eleven persons were Confirmed, presented by Dr. Quintard.

Sunday afternoon Dr. Quintard and myself went over to Wartrace and officiated to an immense crowd at the Head Quarters of General Wood. Dr. Quintard read the service and I preached. There were from three to four thousand persons present and the services were very solemn.

Monday morning, June 1st, I attended a review of General Liddell’s brigade, and after the service was ended, General Hardee formed it in hollow square and I addressed it briefly upon the religious aspects of the struggle in which we were engaged.

Tuesday morning we returned to Shelbyville, and in the afternoon I baptized and confirmed General Bragg, Dr. Quintard standing as his witness. This interesting service closed my Episcopal acts in the Army of the West. I cannot refrain from expressing my high sense of the kindness of the Commanding General of the Army of the West and of his Lieutenant Generals, who gave me every facility for carrying on the services of the Church.

Sunday morning, first after Trinity, officiated in Christ Church, Savannah, and preached in relation to special fund for Missionaries to the Army.

Saturday evening, June 13th, I examined Mr. Telfair Hodgson for Deacon’s Orders, Rev. Messrs. Williams and McRae being the Presbyters assisting, and on Sunday morning, June 14th, second after Trinity, I admitted Mr. Hodgson to Deacon’s Orders in Christ Church, Savannah, Rev. Mr. Williams presenting the Candidate. Since his ordination, Mr. Hodgson has been acting as Chaplain to the army in connexion with the hospitals in Rome and Macon.

Wednesday, June 17th, as Chairman of the committee on the revision of the Prayer Book, I issued a call for a meeting of the committee at Raleigh, North Carolina, on Monday, July 23d, to enter upon our work. I regret to say that in consequence of the very disturbed condition of the country at that time, a quorum could not be assembled.

Friday, June 26th, I visited the temporary residence of Mr. Nightingale in Pulaski county, and confirmed, in the morning of that day, six persons, five white and one colored. Would that all our refugees would imitate this gentleman, and plant an altar of God upon every spot where they set their feet. They could all become Missionaries of the Church and propogators of the Gospel.

Sunday, June 28th, I held a special confirmation in Christ Church, Savannah, and confirmed two persons.
Monday, June 29th, I received from Rev. Mr. Staley his resignation as rector of St. Stephens Chapel, Savannah, on account of ill health. This has been a great blow to our mission to the colored people in Savannah, as it has been impossible to procure any one to take entire charge of the mission. Mr. George Easter, rector of St. Paul’s Free Church, was kind enough to give them regular Sunday evening service. Mr. Staley is resting and will, I trust, soon be restored to the Church as an active workman.

Tuesday, July 7th, I confirmed in Savannah, in private, one person connected with Christ Church.

The Rt. Rev. Stephen Elliott

Friday, July 10th, I commenced my visitation of St. Stephen’s, Milledgeville, of which Dr. Ridley had become the rector. I officiated on the morning and evening of Friday, morning and evening of Saturday, and on Saturday night confirmed nineteen persons. This was a very large class for so small a Parish, and was striking evidence of the faithful and indefatigable labors of that most excellent and pious servant of the Lord. Dr. Ridley has since moved to Montpelier, taking charge of the ministerial department of that Institute.

August 7th, I set forth a Pastoral arranging services for the Fast Day appointed by the President of the Confederate States to be kept on the 21st of that month.

August 13th, held Special confirmation in Christ Church, Savannah, and confirmed three persons.

August 21st, officiated in Christ Church, Savannah on recurrence of the Public fast.

August 29th, appointed Dr. Lord, of Vicksburg, as Missionary to Madison and Greensboro’.

August 30th, held special confirmation at St. Paul’s, Savannah, 13th Sunday after Trinity, and confirmed four persons.

Sept. 13th, 15th Sunday after Trinity, I consecrated, in the city of Savannah, St. Stephen’s Chapel. This Church has been in use for two years, but had not been consecrated, because of some debt which was upon it. Through the indefatigable exertions of Mrs. Kollock, of Savannah, this debt has been all paid, and it was presented for dedication to the service of the Lord. Morning prayer was read by Rev. Messrs. McRae and Easter, and the sermon was preached by the Bishop.

On Sunday, Sept. 20th, 16th after Trinity, I officiated in the town of Greensboro’, in the Presbyterian Church, morning and afternoon. During the service of the afternoon I confirmed, in Greensboro’, three persons, and on Monday established a Church in that place under the name of the Church of the Redeemer. Dr. Lord, late of Vicksburg, has been acting for the last six months as Missionary to this place and Madison, but having obtained the office of Chaplain of Post at Greensboro’, has been obliged to resign the charge of Madison.

On Tuesday, Sept. 22d, I officiated in the Church of the Advent, Madison, at which time I confirmed, during morning service three persons. As Dr. Lord has withdrawn from Madison, I should be glad to unite this Parish with Sparta, where a number of Episcopalians are collected for the present. Together they would make a fine field of labor.

Saturday, October 10th, I commenced my visitation of Griffin, and officiated in the morning in a temporary building, used ordinarily as a school room. On Monday, 19th after Trinity, I confirmed, in the morning, two persons, and in the afternoon, seven persons. After consultation, it was not deemed expedient, in consequence of the absence of many male members of the Parish, to reorganize St. George’s Parish at this time, but to leave the question open until after Easter, when it was hoped that some of those persons might have returned from the army.

Accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Thomas, I next visited LaGrange, and on the 14th of October, officiated in the Presbyterian Church of that place, and baptized two infants. The Rev. Mr. Thomas performed the accompanying services. On the 15th, I officiated a second time, and confirmed six persons presented by Mr. Thomas. In the afternoon of the same day I baptized another infant. There is a very good opening for the Church in LaGrange, but it will require perseverance to establish it.

My next visit was to Marietta, where I arrived the next day, and confirmed at night, on the 16th, one person. On the 17th, I held a second service, and on Sunday, the 20th after Trinity, I confirmed, in St. James’ Church, twelve persons.

November 1st, I held a Special confirmation in Christ Church, Savannah, and confirmed one person.
November 8th, 23d Sunday after Trinity, I confirmed, in Emmanuel Church, Athens, thirteen persons. This Church has been very full for a past year, on account of refugees who have flocked to Athens for shelter and home. It is abounding in good works.

From Athens I went to Gainesville, Hall county, and remained several days under the hospitable roof of Mr. Harvey Hall. On Sunday, 15th November, I officiated in the Chapel, which Mr. Hall has built in that place, and in the afternoon I baptized an adult and confirmed six persons. There is no resident minister at this Chapel, but occasional services have been rendered by Dr. Henderson and Rev. Charles Grant.

My next point was Clarkesville, Habersham county. As it was late in the season for that Parish, I found many of the inhabitants scattered, but nevertheless I has very interesting services, both morning and evening, of the 25th Sunday after Trinity. In the morning I officiated in Grace Church, in the village of Clarkesville, confirming five persons, and in the afternoon at the Chapel in the country. Very soon after my visit, the Rev. Mr. Epps resigned the Parish, very much to the regret of the people and was transferred to the Diocese of Florida.

Upon my return to Savannah, I confirmed, on the 3d December, in the Marine Hospital, one sick person belonging to the Navy, presented by the Rev. Geo. Easter.

I made a second visit to Augusta, and on the 3d Sunday in Advent I confirmed, in St. Paul’s Church, eighteen persons. This Parish is in a very flourishing condition, and is contributing very largely to the resources of the Diocese. In the afternoon I held confirmation in the Church of the Atonement, and confirmed three persons.

Christmas Eve, I held confirmation in St. John’s Church, Savannah, and at night I confirmed thirteen persons.

On Christmas day I confirmed, in the morning, in Christ Church, Savannah, fifteen persons.

Having received notice from the Secretary of the Convention of Florida, of the adoption, of that Diocese, of the Constitution and Canons of the Church in the Confederate States, I issued, in pursuance of a joint resolution of the last General Council, a declaration of union of the Diocese of Florida with the Church of the Confederate States, and with the Council of said Church. This declaration bears date 4th of January, 1864.

January 7th, 1864, I confirmed, in private, one person, belonging to Christ Church Parish.

In the month of February I visited St. Philip’s Church, Atlanta, and on 23d of February, third Sunday in Lent, I confirmed, in St. Philip’s, Atlanta, seven persons. The Church building in this place having become entirely too small for the congregation, it has been determined to enlarge it by an addition of thirty feet to the old edifice.

On the following Tuesday, February 23d, I made a second visit to Marietta and confirmed, in St. James; Church, five persons, and in the Military Hospital two officers, who had been previously baptized by Dr. Quintard.

On the 4th of March, I held a special confirmation in Christ Church, Savannah, and confirmed two persons.

On Easter day, March 27th, I administered the Rite of Confirmation in Christ Church, Savannah, in the morning, upon which occasion twenty persons were confirmed, and in the evening of the same day I officiated at St. John’s, Savannah, when thirteen persons were presented for confirmation.

April 1st,I issued a Pastoral to the Clergy of the Diocese setting forth a form of service to be used on the 8th of April, the day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer recommended by Congress.

Same day I confirmed, in private, an infirm person, a candidate from St. Paul’s Church, Savannah, recommended by Rev. Geo. Easter.

First Sunday after Easter, I visited St. Paul’s Church, Savannah, in the morning, and confirmed five persons.
On Friday, the 8th of April, I officiated in Christ Church, Savannah, upon the occasion of the Fast day appointed by the Congress of the Confederate States, and preached a sermon suitable to the occasion.

Sunday, April 10th, second after Easter, I visited the Ogeechee Mission, under charge of Rev. Mr. Williams, and officiated, in the morning, at the Chapel upon Mr. Heyward’s plantation, preaching and confirming seven persons. At night I officiated at the Grove plantation of Mr. William Habersham, and confirmed two persons. The subjects of this Mission have been so much scattered and harassed in their spirits that the Missionary has not had a proper opportunity for preparing his usual class. They are now being collected once again at their homes, and will, I think, be no more disturbed in their progress towards holier things.

April 16th, I reached Rome, in upper Georgia, and officiated I St. Peter’s Church on Sunday morning. Prevented by rain from holding service on Sunday evening, I officiated again on Monday night and confirmed three persons. This Church has suffered much during the year from the threatened raids upon it from Tennessee, and many of the inhabitants have left the place for the present. Twice during the year Dr. Easter had prepared large classes for confirmation, but circumstances prevented my visiting the Parish at these times, and the classes were borne away by the ever-changing current of the war. Dr. Easter is giving great attention to the soldiers in camp and hospital around Rome.

From Rome, I proceeded to Dalton, the Head Quarters of Gen. Johnson’s army, accompanied by Drs. Quintard and Easter. I was hospitably entertained by Gen. Hardee and my accompanying Clergymen by Gen. Stevenson. On Wednesday, April 20th, services were held in the Methodist Church in Dalton, upon which occasion service was read by Dr. Quintard, and baptism administered to Gen. Strahl of Tennessee. After sermon, Dr. Quintard presented a class of eleven persons for confirmation, among whom was a Lieutenant General and three Generals of the army of the Confederate States. The Church was crowded to its utmost capacity, and services were received with the most quiet and earnest attention. Such scenes give me the most cheerful hope, not only for our present success but for the future welfare of our Confederacy.

Leaving Dalton on the morning of the 20th, I reached Marietta on the 21st, and examined the Rev. Mr. Fitch for Priest Orders. Rev. Messrs. Hunt and Benedict and Dr. Easter were the Examining Clergy. During the same day an Ordination service was held in St. James’ Church, and Mr. Fitch was admitted to the Holy Order of Priesthood. Dr. Quintard preached the sermon, Messrs. Hunt, Quintard and Benedict assisted in the service and in the laying on of hands. During the service one person was confirmed.

Friday, the 22d of April, I consecrated to the service of Almighty God, St. Luke’s Church, Atlanta, Rev. Mr. Freeman having given his heart consent to the formation of a new Parish in this flourishing city. The Parish of St. Luke’s was organized during the winter, and a very nice and Church-like edifice rapidly run up and prepared for service. It is capable of seating about four hundred persons, and promises good things for the future of the Church in Atlanta. Its success is due to the untiring energy of Dr. Quintard and the great liberality of those who rallied around him, most of them refugees from Kentucky and Tennessee, and some of them members of his old Parish in Nashville. The services were conducted be Mssrs. Hunt, Benedict, Easter, Quintard and Pinkerton, the Bishop preaching the Convention sermon. In the afternoon of the same day a class for confirmation was presented, when I laid hands upon five persons, the first fruits of this enterprise.

I reached Macon on the 23d of April, officiated in the morning of Sunday, the 24th, fourth Sunday after Easter, and at night confirmed twenty-five persons presented by Mr. Rees. The next day, the 25th, I confirmed two others in private. This very large class, collected through much sickness and suffering of the Rector, shows the flourishing and healthy condition of this Parish.

Tuesday night, April 26th, I preached again in Christ Church, Macon, upon which occasion a collection was taken for the wayside Home.

Wednesday, April 27th, accompanied by Rev. Mr. Rees, I visited Americus, Sumter County, where we were received and entertained by Mrs. Harold. Service was held in a chapel of the Female College in Americus, which was kindly tendered to us by Dr. Wilson, the Principal of the Institute. This gentleman offered us every facility for our services, for which I take this opportunity of tendering him the thanks of the Church. I officiated on Thursday morning, baptized four children, and administered the Holy Communion. On Friday morning I officiated a second time, and confirmed three persons. These services were well attended, and the prospect for the Church in Americus is most excellent. I shall endeavor to keep up services in that place until such time as a Missionary can be found for it.

On Friday I down to Albany, Dougherty county, and officiated in St. Paul’s on Sunday morning and evening, 1st of May, fifth Sunday after Easter. No candidates were presented for confirmation in this Parish. But a class is in preparation for a later visit.

In pursuance of the plan proposed in my Pastoral of May last for sending Missionaries to the army of Tennessee, I commissioned the Rev. Messrs. Benedict of Marietta, and Eppes, of Clarkesville, as the first Missionaries to the army then stationed at Shelbyville. They were provided letters to Gen. Bragg and Gen. Polk, and were instructed to act in conjunction with Dr. Quintard, who was then at Shelbyville, officiating as Chaplain of the 1st Tennessee Regiment, and they were to remain for six weeks, which would extend their time into August. They reached Shelbyville just as the army was retreating from that place, and were involved in that retreat, and subjected to many hardships and some peril. After the army was settled at Chattanooga, they exercised their ministry successfully and pleasantly. They were succeeded in August by Rev. Messrs. Clarke, of Augusta, and Williams, of the Ogeechee Mission, who remained until after the battle of Chickamauga, and were very usefully employed in ministering to the soldiers of such regiments as they were attached to. Rev. Messrs. Harrison, of Augusta, and Hawks, of Columbus, were to succeed them, and Mr. Hawks proceeded in October as far as Marietta, but could get no further, strict orders having been issued forbidding all persons to go to the front.

After the confusion of the operations succeeding the battle of Chickamauga was over, I determined, in consequence of the great difficulty of finding Clergymen to go to the army, and of the representations of the Missionaries who had gone in their turn, to appoint a Missionary from the Diocese of Georgia, who should make it his permanent work, and selected Rev. Dr. Quintard for that purpose. He accepted the appointment and served for one month, but circumstances forced him to withdraw from the work and devote himself to service in Atlanta. This brought me to January, and as the winter was severe and no Missionary was at hand to put into Dr. Quintard’s place, I left the matter over to this Council, so that we might have fresh consultation upon the matter. The funds furnished by the Diocese have been abundant for the purpose, as will be seen from the report of the Treasurer of the Missionary Society.

Besides the service rendered in the army by these Missionaries, our Diocese has been largely represented in the Hospitals of the army. Dr. J.D. Easter has been, for most of the year, acting as Post Chaplain to the numerous hospitals in Rome, Rev. Mr. Pinkerton to those in Atlanta, Rev. Mr. Hodgson to those at Rome and Macon, and later in the year Dr. Lord has been appointed as Post Chaplain to the Hospital at Greensboro’, and Rev. Mr. Thomas at Griffin. Thus five of our Clergy have been devoting themselves to our troops in the Hospitals, while three others have been devoting themselves, rev. Messrs. Johnson, Helms and Meredith, to the service in the field. Fourteen of our Clergy have been, therefore, employed, during the past year, in connexion with the army in some form or other. Rev. Mr. Grant has served for six months in the field.

Since our last Council no Clergyman has left the Diocese except the Rev. Mr. Eppes, who has been transferred to Florida. We have added to our Clergy Rev. Mr. Hodgson by Ordination, and Rev. Dr. Lord, of Vicksburg, and Dr. Quintard of Tennessee, who are not canonically connected with the Diocese, but are laboring within it.

Rev. Mr. Hodgson has been ordained Deacon, and rev. Mr. Fitch, Priest, during the year. Gen Henry C. Wayne has become a candidate for Holy Orders.

I have consecrated two Churches, St. Stephen’s Chapel, Savannah, and St. Luke’s Chapel, Atlanta.

Before closing this Address, I would congratulate the Clergy and Laity of this Council upon the noble spirit which has once again re-animated the people of our country, and the victories which have, in such rapid succession, crowned our arms. God seems once again to have lifted the light of his countenance upon us, and to be aiding our councils and leading our armies. Let us evince our gratitude to Him by a solemn Thanksgiving during the present session of our Council, and let us propitiate the continuance of His favor during the remainder of the year, by setting apart one day in every week, upon which, at the same hour, we shall, as a Church, supplicate Him for His mercy and support. Should these recommendations meet the approval of this Council, I would advise the setting apart of Saturday morning next for the office of Thanksgiving, and that the Council, before its separation, should agree upon some day and hour on which the Churches in the Diocese, should offer with one heart and soul, united prayers and supplications to Almighty God for His blessing and grace upon our country, and armies and our Church. For this purpose a special form might be wet forth with variations to suit the contingencies of events.

Praying that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your deliberations, I commend you to His grace and love, in and through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Bishop of the Diocese of Georgia

The Council did approve of a weekly day and time “until the establishment of peace, to invoke the Divine Blessing upon the country in the present crisis of its civil and military affairs.” These services were set for Wednesdays at five o’clock p.m.

The Army Fund referred to in the Address as one for funding Missionaries to the army received $4,149.75 in offerings from Churches and individuals. For comparison, this amount constituted an amount equal or greater than the annual budget of many of the larger churches (such as Church of the Atonement, Augusta whose own budget totaled $3,334.35).

The above address was transcribed from the Journal of the Second Annual Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Georgia Held in Trinity Church, Columbus, Georgia, commencing May 5th 1864. Every effort was made to transcribe the text as is with no updating of the style of the text. This was the “Second Annual Council” is because it was the second meeting of the Diocese as apart of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Confederate States of America.