Friday, May 24, 2013

Another Interesting Historical May Anniversary

Sesquicentennial of Jefferson Davis’s Baptism
          The great trials faced by Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederate States of America caused him to seek guidance from his religious faith.  He could not remember having been baptized as a child, so in the spring of 1863, in the depressing weeks following Shiloh, after some prompting by Varina Davis, the Reverend Charles Minnegerode, Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, approached President Davis and discussed baptism and confirmation.  Davis had married two Episcopalians (Sarah Knox Taylor, Varina Howell) and regularly attended services, but had never been moved to become a church member.  He stated that before he became President of the Confederacy he was “my own man” but that now he knew he should become “God’s man”.  On the 4th day of May 1863, then, Jefferson Davis was baptized by Reverend Minnegerode in a ceremony at his home (he had not attended church service that day due to an urgent message saying that Gen. Joseph Johnston was in retreat, thus leaving Richmond open to attack).  Then in a special service at St. Paul’s the following Tuesday, he came forward to be confirmed, followed by his Chief of Ordnance Josiah Gorgas and his wife Amelia.  Jefferson Davis remained a devout Christian for the rest of his life.

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