“Exhorting You to Be Faithful…to God and to Men”

Sean A. Scott

in A Visitation of God

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195395990
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199866557 | DOI:
“Exhorting You to Be Faithful…to God and to Men”

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In the mid‐nineteenth century, fathers possessed significant authority over their sons and exerted their patriarchal influence in order to shape their lives. Some men of military age struggled to emerge from their fathers' shadow and gain control over their lives, while others looked to their fathers for advice on important decisions. Devout fathers desired to steer their sons down a path to Christian manhood and used letters to soldiers to discuss matters of faith and conduct. In addition, ministers, as father figures and religious leaders of their congregations, had to decide between enlisting in the army to either fight or serve as a chaplain or remaining home in order to shepherd their spiritual flocks. The emphasis that fathers placed on the necessity of personal faith and proper living while their sons were in the army underscores the important role of religion both on the home front and within the ranks.

Keywords: Christian manhood; patriarchy; soldiers; correspondence; camp life; chaplains

Chapter.  10545 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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