Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Faith, Valor, and Devotion: The Civil War Letters of William Porcher DuBose

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Faith, Valor, and Devotion: The Civil War Letters of William Porcher DuBose

Article excerpt

Faith, Valor, and Devotion: The Civil War Letters of William Porcher DuBose. Edited by W. Eric Emerson and Karen Stokes. (Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 2010, Pp. xxix, 360. $49.95.)

William Porcher DuBose (1836-1918) may well be "the most original and creative theologian the American Episcopal Church has ever produced," as Lesser Feasts and Fasts suggests. He also lived through stirring times. DuBose fought on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War, first as a solther and then as a chaplain. In 1871, not long after the war ended and only four years after his ordination to the priesthood, he moved with his young family to Sewanee, Tennessee, where he did more than any other single figure to shape the ethos of the recentiy-founded University of the Soudi. And there DuBose stayed for nearly fifty years, from Reconstruction until the First World War.

At Sewanee, DuBose dedicated his life to his students. Not until 1892, at the age of fifty-six, did he publish his first book, and the real surge of publications on which his reputation is largely based did not begin until 1906, when he was seventy. As a consequence of this long period before DuBose began publishing in earnest, the development of his theology is difficult to trace. The publication of DuBose 's Civil War correspondence is therefore welcome indeed.

Editors Eric Emerson and Karen Stokes have transcribed and annotated the DuBose letters held in the collection of the South Carolina Historical Society. The significant majority of these letters were from DuBose to his fiancée and then wife, Anne ("Nannie") Barnwell Peronneau, although the volume also includes a few letters to DuBose and a few letters from other people. (One small criticism: the author and addressee are not identified at the head of each letter. Particularly at the beginning of the book, I found some letters confusing until I reached the end and saw that they were not written by DuBose. …

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