Chaplains & Circuit-Riding Preachers

* Pages 68-69 in American Heritage Series 4 by BJU Press.

Julia_Ward_Howe-_History_of_Woman_Suffrage_volume_2_page_793Julia Ward Howe wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic after watching some Union soldiers encamped in D.C., preparing for the coming Civil War. Preachers who were also soldiers were called “chaplains”.  They spread the gospel through the encampments, and helped soldiers learn more about God. The impending war led many soldiers to think more about their eternal souls. Why?


Church attendance skyrocketed all across the country.  Soon there were more churches & communities in need of pastors than there were pastors.  Preachers who rode on horseback were called “circuit-riding preachers.”  Why?  Because much like electricity follows a path around in a path, these preachers would have a set route to travel, circling through all the towns.  Sometimes a few of them would get together and hold a “camp meeting” – where many folks would show up from the surrounding communities and camp out for a week or so.  It was a time of great revival, or spiritual awakening in the country.



Read More:

Into the Wilderness: Circuit Riders take Religions to the People
Holy, “Knock ’em Down” Preachers
Colorful Peter Cartwright, Circuit Rider
Women Leaders in the Wesleyan Movements – Some women did preach publicly.

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