Christian Recorder: February 14, 1863
Turner writes about God's providence in the war and church news
Mr. Editor: Quietness has gained the day in our city. The newspapers are trying ever and anon to excite the minds of the people, by heading their telegrams with large letters, and falsely coloring the matter therein contained, but it is no use, they cannot succeed in raising an excitement.
The army of the Potomac is still resting in the mud, or snuffing up the ashes of Virginia pine-knots, and are likely there to sit as long as the weather continues so inclement.
Vicksburg is still the rebel stronghold, and from all appearance will remain so, unless a new order of things occur. Gen. Banks is still knocking around New Orleans, and from his own indiscretion and hasty decisions in many points, would be as glad to leave there as creditably as he went, &c., &c.
The bill for the enlistment of colored soldiers has passed the house by a large majority; some exceptions are being made at the idea of the colored officers not being privileged to command white soldiers. But I think that is one of the best features in it. I only wish it has been so provided, that no intermingling would have been allowed at all. I still hope that it will be so arranged, that no brigade, corps, or command will be permitted to intermit, unless in a case of special necessity, for unless this is done, there will be a hot time among themselves, for some prejudicial sap-headed soldier will be apt to endeavor to throw some contumelious epithets at the nigger as the Irishman says, and then the nigger will let thunder slip at him. Even if this did not occur, whatever honor we might be entitled to, would be conferred upon someone else, and the negro set down as a coward. No, sir! If we do go in the field, let us have our own soldiers, captains, colonels, and generals, and then an entire separation from soldiers of every other color, and then bid us strike for our liberty, and if we deserve any merit it will stand out beyond contradiction, and if we deserve none, why, then brand us with the stigmatic infamy of cowardly dupes as long as there is a skull upon our shoulders. The more I look at the order of Providence in this war, the more admirably does God in mercy appear in all the events of human affairs. How adverse to the conception of man, he helmed the destinies of this nation. If many, yes, if millions could have had their choice, the Bull Run battle never would have been a defeat. General McClellan never would have left the suburbs of Richmond when he was within bell-ring of that traitor-concocting rendezvous, where the forces met in council to defy the armies of the living God, after failing nine times, the space which measures day and night; neither would Gen. Fremont have been removed, nor Hunter recalled; Gen. Butler, instead of sitting at New Orleans with an army such less than a Major General is entitled to, for so many months, would have been plenteously supplied with men, and ordered to take Mobile and sway the nation’s scepter wherever he could track a traitor’s bloody heel, and so would the hast rapids of many have borne things along their current; but God in mysterious kindness has held the raging elements with a calmer hand, and with an occasional whisper to the heels over head party, steady, steady, more slow and sure. Of him it may truly be said, omnium elegantissima, loquitur. And like the Psalmist, we shall be able to exclaim, “Thou art my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.”
The third quarterly meeting was held in the Israel Church on last Sabbath; the day being very inclement the audience was small, but the Rev. J.M. Brown, who was present on the occasion, preached two very able discourses. I wish I had preserved a synopsis of his morning discourse, as it was too valuable to go unnoticed. However, God sealed it in many hearts, my own among the rest. Rev. B.T. Tanner, who preached a very solid and doctrinal sermon in the afternoon, was taken with a bleeding at the mouth shortly after leaving the church, which could not be stopped until the following Thursday. For several days he could not utter a word, and the only way he could communicate was either by motions or writing. Most of us thought, and even the doctor has despaired of his recovery, but he is now in a hopeful condition, being able to utter some words.
I believe Mr. T.E. Green, who is one of the most distinguished members of the Union Bethel Church, has gone on an errand of mercy through the North to solicit aid in behalf of the contrabands. God grant him success. I went the other day to their quarters, and the sights which presented themselves before me, would, if it had been possible, made my skin crawl off my body. If a skinned ox feels as bad as I did, there is no fun in being skinned I assure you. But you ask, How is this? have not the people white and colored been supplying their wants? Yes, they have, but new contrabands are continually coming in, and old ones leaving; the old ones carry what they have, and the new ones bring nothing, so there is an endless want. Do you see the point?
Charles O. Moore, the newly appointed agent for the Recorder, is laboring for its further dissemination with all his manfulness; Mr. Moore is a class leader in the Israel Church, and peculiarly adapted to the extension of religious literature: pressing a widespread acquaintanceship among our people, as well as an indefatigable spirit in the work he is engaged in makes him one of your best selections. He however regrets the unfortunate unappreciation which our people have for their own literature, which only enables him to sell on hundred copies of the Recorder per week, in a city where five hundred ought to be taken with the greatest eagerness.
He also labors equally as invincibly for the Repository, and Anglo African. Excuse the imperfections of this communication, for I have not time to look over it.
Washington, February 7 1863