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Civil War Soldiers' Spiritual Victories

Triumph stirs deep thoughts and emotions

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by Jerry Wofford

When I first saw the book, Triumph Amidst Bloodshed: Civil War Soldiers’ Spiritual Victories, by Craig L. Claybrook and John Reed it caught my attention because of my interest in history and especially in the Civil War era. Once I began to delve into the first hand life and death stories told in its pages, I quickly realized that the message the Christian Commission ministers brought to wounded and dying soldiers was the same biblical truth that has so profoundly shaped my own life. The simple gospel that brought salvation and peace to these soldiers is the same word of grace and faith that I reached out to when at the age of fourteen I opened by heart to accept Christ’s sacrifice and receive Him as Savior.

The surrender and faith that was central to the stories of the Christian Commission ministers as told in Triumph Amidst Bloodshed have also been the core of the trust that brought the restoration of my own spiritual life. These minister’s words of caring and comfort came from a deep understanding of Scripture. I have found these biblical truths to be crucial for my life as well. During my first year of college, I heard someone say, “If you want to intellectually honest, you must set aside all the things you learned growing up and reason things out for yourself.” I certainly did not want to base my beliefs on bias and caprice, so I took this statement very seriously. I decided to major in philosophy and minor in psychology and religion. But, the more I read apologetics, comparative religion and philosophy books, the more confused I became and the more I was gripped by turmoil and despondency. Finding no help from philosophy in answering life’s fundamental questions, I chose to enter graduate school in psychology. During my studies for a Ph.D., I had neither time nor desire to pursue spiritual issues. I focused full attention on my academic studies. After obtaining a Ph.D. in industrial psychology, I began work for the Mead Corporation in their management development department.

Pastor Comments on Triumph Amidst Bloodshed

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“Being a busy pastor, I am constantly looking for inspirational illustrations of biblical truth. Triumph Amidst Bloodshed is such a source. I have had a keen interest in U.S. history since I was a child–particularly the conflict of our American Civil War. There are several reasons for this but, as an adult Christian, perhaps the greatest reason is the parallel that I see between this conflict and the struggles of our Christian life.”

“Just as the Christian is challenged to fight the good fight, this book presents wonderful illustrations of men in the worst of circumstances who have let their light shine by fighting the good fight of faith. Swept up in the sea of carnage of hostile war, this book provides wonderful examples of God working through His soldiers (the U.S. Christian Commission). Despite the dark days of maiming and death, it contains rare untold accounts of sacrifice and Christian courage. There are unusual attitudes of thanksgiving on the hearts of the dying and willing obedient faith on the part of those who served. It is the account of Christian Soldiers winning the lost and doing everything they could for the cause of Christ.

“Pastor, teacher, Christian, all will find challenges to dedicate ourselves to a higher purpose no matter the cost. By all means, read these accounts and you will be blessed as was I.”

Pastor Jim McClain

Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Norwalk, Ohio

Abraham Lincoln Addresses Mother’s Grief

Written by clclaybrook on . Posted in Uncategorized

Few men in the country could so appreciate the motherly sacrifice, which was being made all over the land as did President Lincoln. His letter to a pious widow living in Boston deserves a place in history, along with his speech at Gettysburg and his second inaugural address:


DEAR MADAM: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming; but I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that Our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,


Note to Mrs. BIXBY, Boston, Massachusetts found in original book:

To receive such a letter, written by him who, within a few months, was to realize the sacrifice about which he here writes, seems almost a compensation for the loss.

  • If you enjoy people and history while watching God’s hand at work, TRIUMPH AMIDST BLOODSHED is a "must read."  For the Christian pastor or teacher, it is a wonderful reference. For those looking for inspiration, you will find it here. For the family historian, the ebook version has much to offer. As we remember the 150th Anniversary of America’s Civil War, we are blessed to be reminded by this incredible book that God is in control.
    Barbara Roberts Baylis 
    Professional Genealogy Instructor, DAR Volunteer Genealogist, National Speaker, Former President of the Dallas Genealogical Society
  • I confess that I don't know much about the Civil War, much less about how Christianity fared during this difficult time in the life of our nation. However, John Reed and Craig Claybrook have edited Triumph Amidst Bloodshed to address this lack on my part and perhaps yours as well. This well-documented work serves to demonstrate that our faith was alive and well in spite of the horror of war, and it inspires us to pursue the Savior in spite of any hardships that we might be facing today. I would suggest that the reader keep this book by his or her bedside and read a little each night so as to give much time to absorb the truths and testimonies contained within.
    Aubrey Malphurs 
    Senior Professor of Leadership and Pastoral Ministry, Dallas Theological Seminary, President, the Malphurs Group, LLC
  • I couldn't put the book down. I enjoyed reading the narratives and first-hand accounts of real life and death situations that took place during the Civil War. Devotion to Christ played a huge role in how the soldiers lived and fought day after day. Thanks for such a wonderful read of Triumph Amidst Bloodshed.
    John Robinson 
    Director of Autumn Leaves Retirement Home, Dallas, Texas