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I thoroughly enjoyed reading about an important but overlooked area of many a Civil War soldier's life - religion.

Woodworth's book is a refreshing and balanced view of the typical Northern and Southern soldier's religious views and life during the Civil War. While officers and generals are mentioned, the great majority is devoted to the foot soldier and noncommissioned officers.

The book contains several anecdotes of soldiers' faith in Jesus Christ from both North and South: how they were able to reconcile their religious beliefs with fighting a war, comments on the dangers and moral lapses of camp life, how a dying soldier was able to confidentally face eternity based on their personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and other fascinating aspects of religious life during the Civil War.

While there were Jews, atheists, agnostics, and other types of beliefs in both armies, the emphasis is on the Christian faith.

Read and enjoy. Highly recommended if you are interested in learning more about the faith of several Civil War soldiers!
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Our society has a very different attitude and belief system making it almost impossible to understand the religious world of the Civil War. Nor am I sure that we can talk about it without being judgmental and condescending or bemoaning America's loss of faith. This is a subject that most histories ignore or quickly mention on the way to something else. I feel they do so at of fear, not wishing to touch such a highly charged subject. Having read Woodworth, I felt he would do give me a good balanced history of religion during the war.

He did much more than that! Very carefully, he navigates between the poles never seeming to lean in either direction while give us a full history of Christianity leading up to and during the war. This produces a very fair balanced history that every one can read and enjoy. Woodworth, for the most part, lets the participants tell the story. Using a combination of letters, diaries and books, he shows us what they thought and felt. With this foundation, he guides us from the person to society and showing us the application. Each important term, the practice of religion and its' place in American life is fully covered in Part I. Part II covers the war and the application of Christian principles during the war. The belief system, the sermons and prayers are both a solace and a trap for the South as the war is being lost. The last twenty-five pages alone are worth the price of the book. They deal with the South coming to terms with defeat and reconstruction in contrast to the North's feelings of God's favor in granting them victory.

I have seen request for information of religion in ACW armies and now have the answer. This book covers a huge gap in Civil War history and needs to be read by all who wish to really understand the armies that fought the war.
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on May 11, 2007
Woodworth brings to light important aspects of source material from common Civil War soldiers that most historians disregard or dismiss with a quick sentence or two. The extensive quotation of what soldiers said about their faith in letters and journals gives an authentic picture of what real individual soldiers of the time thought and believed. Woodworth may have had his own biases in selecting the material presented, but I greatly appreciate what he has done in letting the soldiers speak for themselves. I have a special interest in Christianity during the Civil War, and this is the best book on the subject in the past half century or more.
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on May 21, 2015
Woodworth painstakingly explores every unsuspected nuance of the spiritual life of soldiers, fighting in a horrible, unexplainable civil war. His facts and our assumptions clash amidst epic spiritual movements long forgotten, where doctrines and duties caused God's children to kill each other by the thousands, making the whole affair even more mind-boggling. We learn through his faithful documentation that God-fearing Christians on both sides struggled daily, not with their with political causes as much as with questions of their own spiritual journey and Salvation.. and how strangely, the war had positive effects on many of its participants, who in the end, believed their side might lose because of wretchedness or arrogance. There are many deep surprises within this volume... the least of which, for me was the utter failure of organized religion, the ascendancy of the YMCA, and the genuine intellect of the common foot soldier.
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on April 27, 2013
As a Theologian and Civil War Buff, I found this volune insightful. The author, using the diaries of Civil War soldiers, presents
the theologiy and religous reflections of the time. He has an exceptional understaning of Christian theology with a leaning toward a conservative or Fundmentlist stance in the materials chosen. He also uses insights and interpretations from non soldieers: family letters and news articles. Once finds inspiration and hopefulness in the midst of death and destruction in this volumne.
Sexuality is presented, but there is no mention of adultary nor children conceived outside marriage. An added merit to the book is the interpretations and insights of theology that the authros draws. I foun this the best resource I have encourted on the religious world of the civil war soldier.
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on October 15, 2013
If you thought you knew the history of the Civil War soldier, think again, and then read this book. If all you have learned about the men on the march has been from television mini-series or documentaries, you aren't getting the whole picture. While God is Marching on sheds light on parts of these men's lives that today's historians overlook due to personal bias or speculative denial. The history is true and you will learn a great deal you probably didn't know and may not have wanted to know by reading this book. Either way, it is essential to understand the material presented here if you want to be honest about your understanding of our history.
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on November 12, 2013
Good and interesting book. It was helpful for a grad school presentation. The presentation went well in no small part to this book that details the religious world that Civil War soldiers lived in, furthermore, it notes the powerful influence that it had on the entire nation during the bloody conflict.
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on July 1, 2014
A very enjoyable book that was easy and interesting to read. Though it is a very challenging subject, the author brings the individuals to life and tells the story of religion in the Civil War in a unique way.
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on June 12, 2016
With an interest in the Civil War and as a pastor, I found Mr. Woodworth's book a helpful understanding and perspective on the religious life of the Civil War soldier. He has a clear understanding of Biblical teaching regarding salvation. An excellent read that I have recommended and purchased for friends.
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on November 5, 2015
I have read a lot of works on the Civil War over the years. This work by Dr. Woodworth provides insight into a very important aspect of the lives of the soldiers North and South-an aspect that has heretofore, to my knowledge, not been addressed in this depth.
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