Preserving religion’s role in the conflict
By Richard G. Williams Jr.
SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
May 5, 2007
A new Civil War Museum in Lynchburg, Va., will offer a very different perspective
on America’s bloodiest conflict. The National Civil War Chaplains Research Center and
Museum will be the only one of its kind in the United States.
The mission of the museum and foundation is to educate the public about the role
of chaplains, priests, rabbis and religious organizations during the Civil War.
The museum also will promote the continuing study of the various methods of dissemination
of religious doctrine and moral teachings during the Civil War and will preserve
religious artifacts associated with the conflict. The museum will present interpretive
programs that show the influence of religion on the lives of political and military
The proposed location is 10,000 square feet of space in the Arthur S. DeMoss Learning
Center on the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg. Plans are under way to
open the center in the fall.
The Museum plans displays on:
• Camp life, hospitals and the battlefield.
• The U.S. Christian Commission.
• The life of the chaplain, priest and rabbi in the U.S. Army.
• The life of the chaplain, priest and unofficial rabbis in the Confederate
• Black chaplains in the U.S. and CSA armies.
• Notable chaplains, priests and rabbis.
• The notable spiritual lives of U.S. and CSA leaders• The great revivals.
• Religious music of the era.
A modern, interactive area will portray a camp and battlefield worship service.
Here, visitors will be able to stand among holographic images of soldiers and
the chaplain, priest or rabbi and participate in the service while hearing what
is being thought by the soldiers and the chaplain, priest or rabbi.
A theater is also planned where visitors will be able to view various videos and
documentaries. Archives, a bookstore, conference rooms and a research library
will be part of the complex, as well.
The museum’s foundation boasts an impressive list of scholars, historians, politicians
and business leaders as its board of advisers:
• Col. J.W. Brinsfield, Chaplain Corps historian at the Army Chaplain School,
Fort Jackson, S.C.
• Kathy Byron, delegate, 22nd District of the Virginia House of Delegates.
• Gary Casteel, Civil War sculptor from Glasgow, Va.
• Virgil Goode, U.S. representative, 5th Virginia District.
• Rod Gragg, Civil War author, Conway, S.C.
• Terry Jamerson, publisher, the Lynchburg News and Advance.
• Irvin Jordan, professor, Special Collections Department, Alderson Library,
the University of Virginia.
• James Kennedy, pastor, Coral Ridge Ministries, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
• Father David Marino, priest, Orange, N.J.
• James I. Robertson Jr., alumni distinguished professor of history, Virginia
Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg.
• Marc Schewel, president, Schewel’s Furniture, Lynchburg, Va.
• Bradley Schmehl, Civil War artist, Gettysburg, Pa.
• The Rev. Lloyd Sprinkle, president, Sprinkle Publications, Harrisonburg,
• Al Stone of Hinton, W.Va., known for his portrayals of Robert E. Lee.
• Don Troiani, Civil War artist, Sudbury, Conn.
• Dave Valuska, professor of history and director of the Pennsylvania German
Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown State University, Kutztown, Pa.
• Steven Woodworth, professor of history at Texas Christian University,
The museum, a nonprofit 501C3 organization, has already had a number of artifacts,
books and period photographs donated to its collection. The museum’s national
board of advisers’ fundraising campaign will kick off on Friday at theArthur S.
DeMoss Learning Center, Grand Lobby, Liberty University, with nationally renowned
Civil War artist Mort Kunstler and author Rod Gragg. Mr. Kunstler will unveil
his Lynchburg print, "Going Home, The Stonewall Procession, Lynchburg, Va.
May 13, 1863." The event will start at 6:30 p.m.
The next day, uniformed re-enactors and civilians alike will gather on Jefferson
Street in Lynchburg and follow the procession route that Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s
body took when it was carried through Lynchburg on the way to Lexington on May
13, 1863. There will be a brief stop on Main Street at Bailey-Spencer Hardware,
the site of the First Presbyterian Church where the Lynchburg funeral was held.
Excerpts from the funeral sermon will be read.
Persons interested in this event can contact the Lynchburg Historical Foundation
at 434/528-5353 or visit www.lynchburghistoricalfoundation.org.
Anyone interested in more information about the National Civil War Chaplains Research
Center and Museum should contact the museum’s director, Kenny Rowlette, at 434/582-2087
Copyright 2007 The Washington Times
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