Слике страница

sick and wounded in hospital, and conducted religious worship services. He was the unit's recognized religious leader. After the War, he graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University and served as a pastor in Ohio." Upon entering the Army, his credentials left little to be desired.

Twelve years later, the Fort Niobrara commander requested through military channels that Nave be relieved from duty and transferred to another post. He alleged that Nave possessed no influence among the officers, enlisted men, and their families; was“ persona non grata to the command”; and promoted disharmony. He also claimed that the churches in the nearby town of Valentine and the regular visits of the Roman Catholic and Episcopal priests to the post precluded the necessity of a chaplain at Fort Niobrara." The Commanding General of the Department of the Platte concurred with the post commander's request and said that Nave's "inability to interest soldiers in his services or to attract them to the school under his supervision” and the “low estimate he seems to have of the moral condition of the Army is likely to make him an object of dislike if not hatred wherever he may go.'

.” When the correspondence about this matter reached the Secretary of War, he gave the department commandr permission to reassign Nave to any post within his department, but the commander believed that Nave would be no more persona grata at any post to which he may be sent than he has been at the post heretofore occupied by him.” “ Consequently, Nave remained at Fort Niobrara for another four years. During that time he was unaware of the correspondence concerning him and apparently continued his ministry without modifying his style. In 1904 that correspondence prevented his promotion."

The locus of the dissatisfaction with Nave's ministry was primarily in the activities he undertook in 1887 on behalf of the Army chaplains and the moral and religious welfare of the Army.*' Before that time his chaplaincy was not unlike that of other chaplains. Aside from his duties as superintendent of the post schools, he conducted a religious program which included revival meetings, Sunday school, a Sunday service, and a weekday prayer meeting. Both children and enlisted men attended the Sunday school, and the officers' wives assisted with the classes. At Fort Lyon, Colorado, he reported that 40 per cent of the enlisted men attended divine worship and that soldiers with "blameless and Christian lives" attended prayer meetings. Observing that intoxicating liquors were the cause of most “misdemeanors committed and punishments inflicted,” he advocated absolute prohibition for military installations; he believed prohibition would bring good order and discpline and improve the Army's

moral condition. He also opined that the War Department should issue orders for the suppression of gambling on Army posts. If his chaplaincy was unusual, it was the time and attention he devoted to Bible study; in 1896 he published a volume titled, Nave's Topical Bible, which he attributed to his wife's assistance and 14 years of “delightful and untiring study" within the "quiet of army garrisons, apart from the rush and distraction of dense communities.” 51

Chaplain Nave suffered a period of poor health. In 1884, while stationed at Fort Lyon, he had the first of three heart attacks; within a year he was confined to his bed with "a complication of dyspepsia, nervous prostration and heart failure.” Not until December 1887, when he reported for duty at Fort Omaha, Nebraska, was he able to resume his ministry.52 Shortly after his arrival at Fort Omaha, Chaplain Nave met Brevet Brigadier General Samuel Breck, the Adjutant General of the Department of the Platte. Breck had served at the U.S. Military Academy during 1860 and 1861 as one of Chaplain John W. French's assistant professors of geography, history, and ethics; he believed that the churches should take a more active interest in the religious welfare of soldiers and their families. When the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., met in Omaha in 1887, General Breck addressed it regarding his concern. As a result, it appointed a committee to lay before Congress the "present want of religious instruction” at Army posts and to petition for “chaplains in sufficient numbers to meet this want.” 53 The general later related his concern to Nave and encouraged him “to awaken a new interest in the churches in behalf of the army.

Nave accepted Breck’s encouragement as a mandate and wrote to the other Army chaplains. They expressed enough interest in the matter to form a “chaplains' movement" and elected Nave as the corresponding secretary. Thus elected, and speaking for the chaplains, he hastened to memorialize the large denominations to cooperate in an effort to improve the moral and religious condition of the Army.The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, North, which met in Omaha in May 1888, was the first body to consider Nave's memorial, and Nave persuaded the delegates to adopt a resolution which became a model for other church bodies. After calling attention to the inadequate number of Army chaplains, the unfitness of some chaplains, and the lack of any provision for the promotion or advancement of chaplains, the conference resolved that provision be made for a corps of 100 chaplains; that all applicants for the chaplaincy be examined for fitness by experienced chaplains; that the President appoint only those applicants recom

[ocr errors]

mended by the examiners; that provision be made for the promotion or advancement of chaplains; and that the Army provide an opportunity for one or more annual assemblies of chaplains wherein they could "compare methods, exchange views, instruct novices, inspire the discouraged, and devise improved methods of work.” 56

Following the General Conference the Methodist bishops brought the resolution to the attention of the Methodist churches, and three of the bishops joined representatives from other denominations to present the matter to the military committees in Congress. In the meantime, similar action was taken by other national religious bodies, including the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., the Congregational churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the U.S.A., the Young Men's Christian Association, the United Presbyterian Church, and the Baptist Home Mission Society. Subsequently, many regional religious bodies and local churches became interested in the chaplaincy, made resolutions similar to those of their national bodies, and wrote to their Congressmen." Chaplain Nave collected copies of those resolutions, organized them, and had them printed. When Benjamin Harrison was elected to the Presidency, Nave sent the resolutions to him with a request that he appoint a Secretary of War who would promote the moral and religious welfare of the Army.58 Presidentelect Harrison responded by assuring Nave of “his earnest consideration" and by appointing Redfield Proctor to head the War Department. When Proctor assumed his duties, he entered cordially into the spirit of the churches by making a “careful study” of the Army's moral and religious needs. Upon completion of the study, Nave began to see the results of his efforts.

To permit officers, enlisted men, and their families to have a greater opportunity to observe the Sabbath, President Harrison on 7 June 1889 ordered that Sunday inspection be “merely of the dress and general appearance, without arms,” and that the “complete inspection under arms, with all men present” take place on Sunday. During the process of ascertaining how to provide all soldiers an opportunity for religious instruction, Secretary of War Proctor in 1889 asked Congress, as a temporary measure, to appropriate funds for the employment of clergymen at posts where no chaplains were stationed. In addition, he restricted the sale of alcoholic beverages on posts to beer and prohibited the sale of all intoxicating drinks on posts located in prohibition states. $2 The Adjutant General addressed the question of advancement for chaplains and recommended the “assignment of the most efficient at the largest posts

) 66

furthest removed from the great centers of religious influence.” What he meant was that six chaplains be assigned to posts with 10 or more companies, at a salary of $2000; 11 chaplains to posts with six to nine companies, at a salary of $1800; and 13 chaplains to posts with five or less companies, with a salary of $1600. He believed that advancement of conferring rank upon chaplains "would seriously affect their usefulness as teachers of Christianity.” 63 The Quartermaster General reported that chaplains were permitted to wear an “ordinary daily use coat similar in cut to that worn by other officers." ** Believing that regimental camaraderie would motivate the chaplains to greater efficiency, the Inspector General suggested in 1891 and 1892 that all post chaplains be transferred to regiments.95 Most important, on 6 January 1890 Congressman Byron M. Cutcheon introduced House Bill 3868 in the House of Representatives; it was titled: "To increase the Number of Chaplains in the Army of the United States, to Define their Duties and Increase their Efficiency.

Nave's perserverance toward sustaining the interest of the churches also brought their representatives together in April 1890 at Washington, D.C., to discuss how to perpetuate such interest; Nave traveled from Fort Omaha to attend that meeting. Recalling the success of the Christian Commission on behalf of the moral welfare of servicemen during the Civil War, the representatives became convinced of the importance of forming a permanent interdenominational association." Consequently, they convened again in September and organized “The United Christian Commission.” The purpose of the commission was stated in its constitution.

The object shall be the promotion of the intellectual, moral and
religious welfare of the Army and Navy, by suggesting needful
national legislation and administration, securing well qualified
Chaplains, encouraging Sabbath observance, promoting temper-
ance, multiplying libraries, reading rooms and gymnasiums; en-
deavouring to arouse the sentiment of the nation to a sense of its

obligation to this large class of our fellow citizens. 68 Though Nave was unable to attend the organizational meeting, he was elected in absentia as a corresponding secretary for the establishment of auxiliary commissions.

The first annual session of the United Christian Commission was held the following December at Washington, D.C., and Chaplain Nave was elected corresponding secretary for the Army. The commission listened to papers written by Army chaplains and discussed what should be done to achieve its own objectives. Secretary of War Proctor presided over a mass


meeting which concluded the session; in a brief address to the assembly, Proctor cited Oliver Cromwell's army as “a model in character for soldiers of this Christian country' and said that “the higher the moral character of the army, the more effective it must be and the more worthy the esteem of the country.” *0 Nave was the principal speaker, and he commended the churches and the Harrison administration for their support of the Commission's objective; he then outlined three "things yet needed”: a religious teacher for every post; a chapel for every chaplain, furnished with an organ and provided with “hymnals so compiled as to be serviceable for all denominations and circumstances”; and a library, reading room, and gymnasium at every post. Moreover, he declared that officers who gamble and practice intemperance should not be promoted; that gambling should be prohibited in the Articles of War; that it should be illegal for any person not authorized by the Secretary of War to furnish intoxicating drinks to enlisted men; and that barracks should be divided into squad rooms to enable men of like tastes to be roommates and to separate the "vicious from the well disposed.” Following Nave's address Congressman Cutcheon, the chairman of the House of Representatives Military Committee, assured the Commission of his sympathy and said that the enactment of House Bill 3868 would meet the objective of the Commission." At the close of the meeting, a speaker described The United Christian Commission as "a bond that unites the national forces with the Christian churches," and the members resolved to remain in active relation with the chaplains and to aid them in their work.13

House Bill 3868 was, in reality, a legal version of Chaplain Nave's memorial to the churches and of the various resolutions of the churches. In addition to the 34 chaplains already authorized by law, it provided for 15 junior chaplains with the rank and pay of first lieutenants and for acting chaplains at every post with two or more companies. It extended the traditional chaplain duties to include supplying soldiers with secular and religious literature; supervising libraries, reading rooms, and gymnasiums; and reporting the causes of discontent among

"with suggestions for remedying such causes.” To promote efficiency, it provided for the 34 senior chaplains to receive a captain's pay and forage for one horse; restricted the appointment of junior chaplains to qualified applicants of 34 years of age, or under; established a system of appointment and advancement; authorized the Secretary of War to assemble the chaplains, either by boards or in whole, for their professional development;

enlisted men,

« ПретходнаНастави »