April 2: An Indiana Boy

An Indiana Boy Reassures His Parents About Morality
by Rev. David T. Myers

The young seventeen year old soldier in the One Hundredth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers was seeking to quiet his parent’s fears about his character and conduct now that he was in the Union Army. So he took pencil and paper in hand to write them in Bellefone, Alabama on this day, April 2, 1864 to assure them that his strict Presbyterian upbringing was not all in vain.

His name was Theodore Upton. His Indiana parents were Christian Presbyterians, but they were far from the scene of his presence now. He was writing them to reassure his beloved dad and mom about such matters of drinking, swearing, and gambling, and that he was not involved in them at all.

It wasn’t a case for Theodore Upton that he had all the time in the world to engage in these sins. Before the War was over, young Theodore would fight at Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and General Sherman’s March Through Georgia. But what was the practice when they were not engaged in warfare, was the question of the godly parents.

In this letter, young Theodore deals with drinking, profanity, gambling, and other assorted evils. They exist, he stated to his beloved parents, but not by himself or any others in the Indiana Regiment. Young Theodore stated “As for myself, I am too proud to dabble in mud and mire. So do not worry, Father mine, I am not going to the dogs, neither are any other of the boys you know.”

Words to Live By:

For the past fifteen years, this author has had the privilege of attending the Army Protestant Chapel on Carlise Barracks, in Carlisle Pennsylvania. Now granted, the Army officers and enlisted men and women attending are not representative of every religious chapel in the Armed Services of the United States. But they are remarkable in their Christian convictions and conduct, and I have been much impressed over their testimonies for Christ and His Word.

Pray much for our Presbyterian chaplains in all branches of the military, that they will be faithful to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Pray for the leadership of the Rev. James Carter, as he oversees with others the ministry of our military officer chaplains that much spiritual fruit will come forth as they in peace time and war time spread the Gospel of grace and love to soldiers all over the world.

Our story is derived from an account in The Blue and the Gray, edited by Henry Steel Commager—“The Story of the Civil War as told by Participants” page 418, letter by Theodore Upton to his parents.


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