Episcopalians at war

This book looks like a guide for re-enactors, one that doubles as a prop: The Confederate Soldier's Pocket Manual of Devotions Including Balm for the Weary and Wounded. There are a couple of ahistoric elements here that could spoil the fun for sticklers, though. As the title says, it combines two original publications into one; there's also the matter of a modern foreword and introduction.

As to the content, to the casual reader, it will seem to present more of that generic army chaplaincy untold millions have endured during national service.

This Pocket Manual is interesting, however, for all sorts of reasons.

First of all, this book was printed and presumably carried by many tens thousands of soldiers. (The press release gave an astonishing press run, and I lost it.)

Second, it was compiled by the famous Charles Todd Quintard (pictured), a Connecticut physician who adopted ministry, Georgia, and the Rebel army, in that order. He was ridiculously well connected as an army chaplain, an intimate of Loring's during the so-called Romney campaign; acquaintance of the war's most famous Episcopalians, Lee and Jackson; close to both Joe Johnston and Hood; and need we mention Leonidas Polk? Polk was killed with four copies of Pocket Manual on him, three undelivered inscribed for Hardee, Johnston, and Hood. Quintard's conversion of a weeping Braxton Bragg at Perryville must be one of the most dramatic pieces of psychology witnessed in the Civil War.

(BTW, Quintard's relations with Patrick Cleburne raise an interesting question; in fact, the Irishman was raised in the Episcopal Church and entered the war as such.)

The introduction is superb and the foreword, though written by a Presbyterian (!), informs us that Quintard was a member of the Oxford (Tractarianist) Movement, a fascinating thing. The Oxfordians believed, among other things, that the Anglican Church comprised one branch of a tradition comprised also of the Roman and Orthodox Catholic Churches.* Quintard: "The Catholic Church loses not her members who depart hence in the Lord. This truth we confess in the Creed, and All Saints' Day confirms and preserves it."**

I personally saw the fruit of this movement ripen in London in the late 1970s when an accord was reached between London's (Russian) Orthodox Bishop Anthony Bloom (like Quintard, a man who worked as chaplain and physician, in his case for the French Resistance) and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Communicants could attend each other's masses (though without receiving the Eucharist).The most recent accommodations made from Rome reminds us of the underlying unities Tractarianism celebrated.

All this is said to put the reader on notice that Manual and Balm are to be read for Oxfordian content, which infuses the book with new interest.

The Foreword says Manual borrows heavily from the Book of Common Prayer of that time. It also says Quintard modified the prayers. What else did he modify? We could use some footnotes and elaboration here. Was the motive to move closer to Orthodox and Roman Catholics or to accommodate the sensibility of the many "low church" Protestants in the Confederate armies?

For instance, there is an anomalous version of the Creed in Pocket Manual. It does not match the contemporary Orthodox, Roman, or Anglican recitation. Digging around a little, I discovered it matched the Creed as per the 1789/1790 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer - which varies from the Anglican original.

So I had an Episcopal moment. Have you had an Episcopal moment lately?

You see that this could be a much more interesting book than it is. It is much more than a prop for re-enactors. Publishers should do more Quintard and they should go deep - as deep as the material deserves.

* The mid-19th Century saw the publication in America by the Oxford movement of wonderful translations of Orthodox classics such as the sermons and commentaries of John Chrysostom. Many of these are now accessible online. When you find them, they are still in their original Tractarian translation.

** My characterization may not sit well with some Episcopalians,
e.g. "... the American part of the Tractarian controvery should be principally understood as a manifestation of a much deeper and distinctly native catholic development and its struggle to reach catholic clarity in an environment dominated by a dissenting Protestant ethos."

p.s. Shoutout to Episcopal Deacon Betsy Rosen and her Civil War blog.