Civil War Chaplains: The Untold Stories

Museum honors 150th Civil War anniversary

SPIRITUALLY FOCUSED— Civil War chaplains had many duties during wartime, including nurses to the physically wounded and counselors to the emotionally wounded.

With the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War approaching, Lynchburg’s National Civil War Chaplains Museum is planning to commemorate the bloodiest war the nation has ever seen in a series of events within the next four years.

According to Professor Kenny Rowlette, Director of The National Civil War Research Center and Museum Foundation, there are plans of an opening ceremony to commence the museum’s events.

The museum will be starting with the 15th Annual Liberty University Civil War Seminar: 1861 First Blood, on March 25 to 27 to begin covering the four years of the war.
The seminar will entail a number of speakers and online gaming tournaments for teenagers including monetary prizes.

The museum will also sponsor its first Civil War Gun and Relic Show on May 20 to 21 in the Schilling Center, featuring weapons, relics, artifacts, memorabilia and more.

The museum opened last January and pays special homage to a group who are rarely mentioned in tales of the civil war — the chaplains.

“The one untold story of the Civil War is about the chaplains,” Rowlette said. “They were the firewall between the horrors of war and despair.”

Rowlette said that the museum serves as a foundation for the role these men played. The chaplains, priests and rabbis took care of over two million men who fought on both sides.

“They were nurses, they were mothers, they were fathers, they were family away from home, they were counselors, they were preachers, men who spread the word,” he said. “These men, who ministered to soldiers, kept them out of trouble. These guys counseled them and kept them spiritually focused.”

There will be an exhibit and presentation about Reverend John Jasper in celebration of Black History Month, on Feb. 17. There are plans to celebrate the chaplains in the fall, Rowlette said.

Rowlette said there are also future plans on expanding the museum’s size and making it more hi-tech, with holograms and exhibits featuring audio stories for the viewers to listen.

He said that the “holy grail” of the museum is going to be where the visitor walks into the room and is welcomed by a holographic chaplain’s sermon and internal thoughts.

The mission of the National Civil War Chaplains Research Center and Museum Foundation is to educate the public and promote the study of the role of chaplains, priests and rabbis and religious organizations in the Civil War and to preserve religious artifacts, according to the museum’s website.

There are not only exhibits in the museum, but the foundation is also trying to provide a research library for those interested in the Civil War and the chaplains who served in it.
Lynchburg is home to a Civil War hospital center, rail center and center of battle in 1864.

About 2,000 soldiers from Lynchburg died and a handful of chaplains came from this city.

For more information regarding the museum or gun show, contact Rowlette at 434-582-2087 or Inquiries regarding the seminar’s admission, locations and times, please call 434-592-4366 or visit


  • Thank you so much to Lynchburg’s National Civil War Chaplains Museum for highlighting the roll of the Chaplain, especially the wartime Chaplain.
    These men were truly heroes and have the hand of God touching them and the Holy Spirit in them. To say they care for others is a huge understatement, no amount of words could ever do justice to the love, courage, effort, and spirit that these men exhibited in the toughest of times.

  • Lisa Quigley-Moon

    One of my ancestors was a Methodist preacher & he died May 12th, 1863 in Arkansas His name was Jackey M. Bradley. Originally from North Carolina the son of John McKnitt Bradley & Jannett Williams Bradley. I have found mentions of him on the net but I have been unable to find anything on him in the war. He was born about 1803 so he would have been mature. Can you suggest where I might look for more info. I do not find him in any of the rolls.

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