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and created a corps of chaplains.” Congress, however, failed to enact the bill.?
When Chaplain Nave received word of the bill's failure, he mailed a circular letter to his fellow chaplains to announce a “Conference of Army Chaplains” at Leavenworth, Kansas, in May 1891. The purpose of the conference was to determine what steps would redeem the chaplaincy from the odium attached to it." Because of the distance and expense involved, only six chaplains representing five denominations were able to attend. Chaplain John B. McCleery was elected president of the conference and Nave the secretary. They voted to renew efforts toward the passage of the bill, and elected Nave to represent their interest before the Secretary of War, the Military Committees of both houses of Congress, and the churches." They considered a variety of subjects, including guard house and hospital visitation, libraries, a religious periodical for the Army, gambling, temperance, the Army canteen, and chaplains generally. They stressed the need for chaplains with better qualifications and high character.** To promote fraternal relations among chaplains and cooperation in advancing the moral and religious interests of the Army, they formed an association, “The Army Chaplains' Alliance,” which was to meet biennially.". They also favored “bimonthly lectures, under the charge of chaplains, upon such articles of war as specially relate to moral subjects, upon which lectures attendance of enlisted men shall be required.” 80 They frequently spoke of themselves as a corps of chaplains and resolved to:
most earnestly and unitedly petition the Secretary of War to detail Chaplain Orville J. Nave to collate and represent the reports of chaplains, and represent the moral and religious interests of
the army at the War Department, and for this purpose to station
him in Washington, D.C.81 Following the conference the Army-Navy Journal encouraged the chaplains' efforts “to unite for the general good” and said that “if they can create a public sentiment in their own corps which will make it impossible to secure the appointment of ‘hirelings,' who bring discredit upon a noble profession, they would do themselves and the Army great service.” Chaplain Nave sent printed copies of the minutes to the 32 chaplains then on active duty, 26 of whom approved the action taken regarding House Bill 3868; three voted in the negative, and for various reasons the others declined to vote.83
Two years later, the chaplains held a second conference in Chicago,
apparently their last one; The United Christian Commission met annually through 1896. Both associations failed to achieve their most important objectives, because Congress never saw fit to pass House Bill 3868. However, they did make notable progress during the years of President Harrison's administration, particularly while Proctor was Secretary of War. Most significantly, The United Christian Commission persuaded the churches to consider the state of the chaplaincy. At its annual meeting in 1891, it discussed clergymen who, incompetent or worse, were unable to secure positions in their own churches, but through political influence achieved appointment as chaplains. To preclude continuance of such a condition, the Commission asked each church represented on the Commission to form a committee “to ascertain and certify the standing, character, and qualifications” of its applicants for the chaplaincy.
The Roman Catholic Church had already made such an arrangement; in 1890 its hierarchy established a commission of archbishops to recruit priests for the military chaplaincy. Although the commission met with little success, it did attempt to find qualified applicants. Most important, Archbishop John Ireland, who had been a Union chaplain during the Civil War, convinced the archbishops of the United States in 1905 to appoint Father Alexander P. Doyle as their representative to the Federal government in matters pertaining to Catholic chaplains.95 The Methodist Episcopal Church, North, was apparently the first Protestant body to form what later became known as an ecclesiastical endorsing agency; in May 1892 its General Conference appointed a board of three bishops "to recommend those only to the President who in their judgment are best qualified” and to ask the President to refrain from appointing any applicant not recommended by the bishops.* Two weeks later, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, US, took similar action, as did the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1898.9" In 1899 the Episcopalians even received a pledge from President McKinley to forward all Episcopal applications to the Bishop of Washington, D.C., for approval." The Methodists received a like promise in 1906 from President Roosevelt.'
Although Chaplain Nave and the churches continued to pursue measures for the improvement of the chaplaincy and the moral and religious life of the Army, the interest within the War Department and the Army declined when Secretary of War Proctor left office in November 1891. Despite President Harrison's order of 7 June 1889 and the general order published on 14 June 1889 regarding Sabbath inspections, commanders conducted troop movements, musters, and reviews on Sun
days." The Headquarters of the Army on 6 August 1892 removed chaplains from membership on the post councils of administration." The Army regulations of 1896 authorized post commanders to appoint officers as school superintendent at chaplain posts." Most significantly, the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General John M. Schofield, proposed in 1895 that the post councils of administration study the “religious wants of their garrisons and provide for them to the extent of such appropriations as Congress may from time to time give for that purpose." 93 His proposal was apparently an attempt to employ post chaplains by contract as they were before 1867. To win support for it, someone in the Headquarters of the Army leaked a copy of the letter General Sherman sent to C. D. McDougall in 1882 regarding his brother's interest in a chaplain appointment, and the Army-Navy Journal printed it."
Thinking of the unqualified, unfit, and unworthy clergymen who had received political appointments to the chaplaincy, General Howard supported the Schofield proposition, believing it would provide “clergymen of fitness and ability.” He even envisioned that the ablest ministers might be employed during the few months of their vacation. After acknowledging the proposition made by the chaplains and the churches to “revise and extend the chaplaincy,” he expressed fear that its primary effect would be merely to provide a larger haven of rest for weary, overworked, or sick clergymen. He did not believe it was “politically possible” to have an enlarged and efficient chaplaincy.
Without making reference to Schofield, Howard, or Nave, Chaplain Cephas C. Bateman opposed the propositions to raise the rank of chaplains to major, to create a corps of chaplains, and to have the corps commanded by a chaplain-general with headquarters in Washington, D.C. He believed that they were prompted by “a spirit of state churchism,” and he called the creation of a corps headed by a chaplain-general "unAmerican.” He said that the "more official religion is, the less effective it is." "He declared:
Should this idea become concrete in a bill before Congress, the
the sixty-second article of war. The proposition can never be serious
ly considered by either Protestants or Catholics.97 Bateman capped his argument by saying, “In my relations with the garrison I wish only to remember that I am a minister of the Master by divine calling and forget that I am an officer of rank by presidential appointment.
Whether Nave was aware of Bateman's convictions is uncertain, but as a consequence of the Schofield proposition, and what he termed other "unmistakable prejudice” against chaplains, he claimed that the chaplains “ceased to look for sympathetic influences” and seemed “to accept the inevitable with no further efforts to change existing conditions.” If the other chaplains reacted that way, Nave did not. Predictably, he wrote and published an article in Theophilus G. Steward's book, Active Service, titled, “The Status of Army Chaplains,” and alleged that advocates of the proposition to employ chaplains by contract were primarily interested in denying chaplains the benefit of retired pay. Moreover, he reiterated his conviction that the efficiency of chaplains could only be increased by giving them administrative and policy-making roles in the chaplaincy. Nave showed every sign of vigorously pursuing his campaign on behalf of the chaplaincy; the Spanish-American War, however, forced him to post
Although monthly chaplain reports showed that the chaplains provided similar ministries, the peculiarities at each post and the personal style of individual chaplains formed a combination that made each ministry unique. When David White first reported to Fort Phil Kearny in July 1866, Colonel Henry B. Carrington went to great length to help him make the services appealing to the men. Carrington arranged for a string band, and sometimes additional instruments, to accompany the congregation, which sang such hymns as the “Magnificat,” “Gloria in Excelsis," “There Is a Light in the Window," "Old Hundreth,” and “Coronation.' On one occasion, the colonel persuaded the singers and the band to present a rendition of “Te Deum Laudamus,” and White—"a devout Methodist, of good heart and excellent in teaching the soldier's children ... but very unsophisticated”—solemnly asked, “Isn't that a Catholic tune?” When the colonel replied that it was one of the “oldest and most glorious hymns of the Church all over Christendom,” White expressed surprise, saying it was new to him but “seemed to be quite religious.
Upon returning to Fort Kearny in December 1867 after visiting his family in Illinois, Chaplain White found the post commanded by another officer who did not support the religious program with the same enthusiasm as Carrington. He was happy, however, to find that his quarters were under construction, despite the cold weather. Yet, there was no building for a chapel or school, and he had to conduct classes and divine services where he could: in the musicians' cabin, a “hovel,” or the theatre. On the first Sunday following his return, he preached at the flag staff at 2:00 p.m., using Matthew 6:33 as his text: “Seek
first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these shall be added unto you.” It was cold, but 12 soldiers—“a good congregation for the army”— attended. He also conducted a Sunday evening Bible class which grew from 5 to 25 in attendance. The class discussed such subjects as “Trinity and Sonship.” and to prepare for it, Chaplain White studied Greek and prayed, “O God Help!” In addition, he preached to the prisoners, who "gave good attention,” and held prayer meetings and Bible classes with hospital patients, who showed “quite a concern for their future.” 102
Chaplain White once became involved in a "severe trial” regarding his fuel allotment of eight cords of wood. Because his family was not with him and he had no chapel, he did not require his full allocation and ordered only what he would need; however, he was told “to make a full requisition.” Having "no doubt” in his mind that the order was an attempt "to steal from the government over his signature,” and believing that his personal integrity was part of his ministry, he refused to obey the order. He wrote that “by the grace of God I will do my duty and trust him for the future.” His refusal apparently made the “powers that be ... very mad,” for it not only denied them the fuel, but challenged their code of ethics. 202
Most Protestant chaplains, regardless of their individual styles and denominations, strove to conduct divine services that were “distinctly Protestant ... distinctly undenominational” by attempting to offer a “form of service especially harmonized and formulated for use in a truly catholic service in which all creeds and classes can join. ioners with strong sectarian loyalties generally preferred—if the chaplain was not of their religious group—to attend a church of their denomi
Chaplains acknowledged sectarian loyalties and occasionally arranged for clergymen to conduct monthly denominational services on the posts, when they were located away from town.
105 Moreover, Protestant chaplains made it a matter of practice to invite Catholic
» 103 But parish