• Photo of cannon at Antietam National Battlefield

    The Civil War

Religious Figures

Photo of Episcopal Bishop (and Confederate general) Leonidas K. Polk

The Civil War came in a period of evangelical fervor and increasing religious diversity in America. Some Christian denominations such as the Methodists split over the slavery issue; others were active in the abolition movement. When war came, churchgoers both North and South were equally sure that God was on their side, and both presidents invoked divine sanction for their cause. Others, such as Quakers, had to weigh the value of patriotism versus an opposition to war.

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  • President's Park (White House)

    Phineas Gurley

    Photo of Phineas Gurley

    Phineas Gurley was a prominent Presbyterian minister in Washington D.C. and favorite of President Abraham Lincoln. Read more

  • Leonidas Polk

    Photo of Leonidas Polk

    Simultaneously Episcopal bishop of Louisiana and Confederate general, Leonidas Polk was not a particularly effective commander, but was a personal friend of President Davis. He was also popular with his men, who mourned him greatly when he was killed by a shell in June of 1864. Read more