Sister States, Enemy States: The Civil War in Kentucky and Tennessee

By Kent T. Dollar; Larry H. Whiteaker et al. | Go to book overview

“My trust is still firmly fixed
in God”
Alfred T. Fielder, His Christian Faith, and the
Ordeal of War

Kent T. Dollar

Soldiers experienced extraordinary hardships during the Civil War. They served long stints in the army far away from hearth and home, they watched comrades fall in battle, and each soldier faced the possibility of death. The conflict tested the endurance of soldiers on both sides, and thousands sought refuge in religion and relied on God to carry on. But how did their religious faith help them persevere? What impact did their trust in God have on their courage in battle? And how was their faith affected as a result?

The example of Alfred T. Fielder, a Tennessee soldier, offers some insight into these questions. Fielder, who was forty-seven years old when the war began in April 1861, enlisted as a private in the Friendship Volunteers, Company B, Twelfth Tennessee Infantry Regiment. The unit was made up of local boys (including several of his relatives) from the vicinity of his hometown, Friendship, located in West Tennessee. By 1863, Fielder, having demonstrated his leadership abilities, was elected captain by his fellow soldiers. The regiment was soon mustered into the Army of Tennessee, where it fought for the remainder of the war.1

Recognizing the hazards of military service, Fielder, a longtime Christian, early in the war laid his petitions before his Heavenly Father’s throne for protection for himself and his family. He realized that, while serving in the army, he was no longer in control of his own fate or that of dear ones at home, but he acknowledged God’s power over such matters,

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