« ПретходнаНастави »
priests to the posts to conduct services and provide other ministrations, and Catholic chaplains reciprocated in kind.106 Though denominationalism was a fact of life, chaplains quickly learned that their pastoral and priestly responsibilities to their military parishes transcended their denominational ties. Even the parishioners with unwaverng denominational loyalties appreciated good chaplains of other persuasions.
Mrs. Anthony Wayne Vogdes, the daughter of an Episcopal clergyman and an ardent Episcopalian, described why her religion was the best "for all
& the high Church too.107 Yet she wrote that the Fort Sedgwick, Colorado, chaplain, a Methodist, was very polite, kind, good, full of fun, jolly, and “much liked by all.” She told her parents that she and the chaplain were "great friends ... because I go to Church regularly & help him sing.” 108 She also supported the chaplain's religious education program by teaching a Sunday school class. 109
There were periodic proposals to appoint and assign chaplains in accordance with the denominational preference of the majority of officers and men at each chaplain post; General Sherman made such a proposal in 1876.110 In 1878 Congressman Anson G. McCook attempted to provide for a greater proportion of Catholic chaplains by introducing House 4399 to the House of Representatives. His bill also dealt with the efficiency of chaplains, but it included provisions for an annual “sectarian census of the Army and the assignment of chaplains in accordance therewith.” 111 McCook later modified the bill because of widespread opposition to the provision requiring the annual census; many, including the editors of the Army-Navy Journal, believed that provision would introduce denominationalism in the Army. 112 The revised bill provided that “vacancies in the number of chaplains in active service ... shall be filled ... in such manner that there shall be at least one Roman Catholic chaplain . . stationed at each military department headquarters.” 113 Various Catholic
benevolent societies, including the Catholic Young Men's National Union, supported the bill, but neither it nor Sherman's proposal became law."
Congressman McCook had good cause for introducing and promoting his bill; at that time Toussaint Mesplie was the Army's only Catholic chaplain. Moreover, the religious needs of Catholic soldiers and their families, especially at isolated posts, had been neglected; when met at all, they were met by the ministrations of Catholic missionaries who happened to be working nearby among the Indians and settlers. From 1850 to 1872 Mesplie was one of those missionaries, and he frequently visited forts in the Northwest. In 1872, shortly after he reported for duty at Camp Harney, Oregon, Chaplain Mesplie wrote that the post population was composed of 135 men, plus the officers and their families, and that over 100 persons were receiving the sacraments at his services.115 In addition, he said:
Last Sunday the two elder children of Colonel Otis, Commander of
neglected. 116 Two years later, Chaplain Mesplie was transferred to Fort Boise, where only a few Catholics were stationed; but showing his concern for the spiritual welfare of Catholic soldiers and their families in that general area, he visited other posts—Camp Harney, Forts Dalles and Klamath, Oregon; Camp McDermitt, Nevada; and Fort Hall, Idaho—to offer the sacraments and other ministrations.""Apparently he made such visits a practice until his dismissal from the Army in 1884.118
Cephas C. Bateman, who opposed Nave's reforms, was one of the ablest chaplains. Upon reporting to his first duty station in 1891 at Vancouver Barracks, Washington, he was discouraged to find that the facilities for his religious program were poor, and that there was widespread indifference to religion. Even though he fully expected that his work would not be as encouraging as that of a civilian pastor, he was heartened to learn that the officers and men regarded him with “consideration and respect.” As he visited with the enlisted men, organized a Loyal Temperance League, and distributed religious literature, his religious program began
to gather support. The Loyal Temperance League held weekly meetings and published The High Private, a small, four-page, semi-monthly paper that contained short, newsy paragraphs about people and events at Vancouver Barracks, interspersed with short items about temperance and religion. Bateman served as the editor; the enlisted men put it together and published it.119
Chaplain Bateman became noted for his entertaining and educational lectures. Over 100 persons attended his first lecture at Vancouver Barracks, and apparently the response encouraged him to present other lectures throughout his chaplaincy. His first lecture was titled: “Trials and Triumphs of Public Speakers”; others were titled: “Men and Guns,” “Army Life in Times of Peace,” “Wit and Humor in Life and Literature, “Cranks,” “Great Libraries,” “The Wandering Jew,” “The Girl of the Period,” and “Origin and Dispersion of the Human Family.” To prepare for some of these lectures, he established for himself a program tinuing education; he took a special Chautauqua reading course, studied American colonial history, and read biographies of orators of the American Revolution.120
Because Vancouver Barracks was not an isolated post, numerous officers and men attended church services of their denomination in nearby Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver Village; consequently, Bateman's congregation never grew as large as he had hoped. Chapel attendance generally fluctuated between 65 and 75 persons, but ranged from 25 to 98. When he conducted special temperance and gospel meetings in a hall near the post reservation line in cooperation with the Salvation Army, the attendance ranged between 200 and 300, which included from 75 to 127 enlisted men. He reported that the Salvation Army—with its “Brass Band attachment, the marching and singing, the louder the better” seemed to “catch the fancy” of the enlisted men, whereas the “more dignified and stately services of the church” made “no impression whatsoever," but that “if it takes a bass drum to convert and make a soldier better,” he would "put up with the racket.” His next station, Fort Assinniboine, Montana, was more isolated, and without the competition from nearby churches, chapel atendance ranged from 35, when the temperature was 30 degrees below zero, to 250 persons. Generally, however, it fluctuated between 125 to 150.121 Chaplain Batman achieved his greatest success in building a congregation at Fort Sherman, Idaho. When he reported there in March 1897, he said, “I think Fort Sherman is a good place to serve God and the US.” His first service was attended by 40 per
sons; by the following September, each of his Sunday services was attended by over 200. On several occasions, he reported that the chapel was packed to the door. 122
Aside from his dedication to his calling, Chaplain Bateman's success as a religious leader was primarily the result of his fertile mind, his ability to promote his program by personal contact and the printed page, and his talent as a public speaker. His lecture titles and self-imposed program of continuing education were indicative of his range of interests and sense of humor. At Fort Sherman he distributed and posted circulars each month that publicized his services and sermons. During September 1897 he preached a series of sermons on “Scarlet Sins”; the sermon titles were: "Lying,” “Profane Swearing,” “Gambling,” and “Drunkenness." Beneath the titles was a notice which read: “If you admit that you are not free from faults and temptations yourself, come and hear these heart to heart talks; but if you are so good that you do not need them please invite some honest sinner to occupy your chair.” During January and February 1898 a circular announced that he was preaching a series of sermons about “Life's Choices,” which included such titles as: "Choice of Occupation,” “Choice of Wedded or Single Life," "Choice of a Wife and a Husband,” “Choice of Living Happily or Miserably Married,” and “Choice of Eternity.”
In addition to his pastoral ministry, Bateman wrote at least three articles, two for The Army Magazine and one for Steward's Active Service. Like his lectures, the articles revealed his broad interests; they were titled: “The Army and Education,” “A Group of Army Authors,” and “The Army Chaplain Among U.S. Soldiers.” The heart of the latter article contained his replies to four questions asked of him regarding the impact of the chaplaincy: “1. Are there any conversions among soldiers?” “2. Do those who come into the army as Christians retain their religion?” “3. Does the preaching of the gospel among soldiers restrain vice and strengthen virtue?” Do army officers yield their influence in favor of religion?” He answered that there were some conversions, but not many; that some Christians remained faithful to their convictions, even though the tendency was toward wordliness; that the preaching of the gospel among soldiers definitely restrained vice and strengthened virtue; and that officers, like other men, were primarily interested in their vocation, although some of them were devout and earnest Christians. In reflecting upon his own chaplaincy, he said that it was “a labor of life and love,"
and that he would resign his commission if it ever became otherwise. 124 It apparently continued to be such a labor, because he chose to stay in the Army for 30 years.
In addition to doing their customary duties on the posts, chaplains occasionally accompanied units on field operations. Generally, however, they remained behind; they never traveled with the troops on Indian campaigns. When the 4th Infantry Regiment went to the Coeur d'Alene region of Idaho in 1892 on a strikebreaking expedition, the regimental commander invited Chaplain John H. Macomber of Fort Sherman to go along. Macomber found it unfeasible to hold services during the early portion of the expedition, because the troops were “constantly in motion doing guard and patrol duty.” Later, however, when they settled in camps, he was able to visit them and conduct services. At one camp he even organized a temperance society."
The most important strike of the 1890s was the Pullman strike of 1894, which originated among the factory workers in George M. Pullman's company town south of Chicago and spread throughout the West. Chaplain Theophilus G. Steward accompanied the 25th Infantry Regiment, which guarded a section of the Northern Pacific Railroad from camps set up along the tracks, by tunnels, and near bridges, and he preached to troops while they were encamped. Chaplain Edward J. Vattmann also accompanied troops from Fort Sheridan, Illinois, into Chicago. In addition to visiting the sick in the field hospital and tents, he "endeavored to get useful and important information”—particularly from clergymen-regarding the “intentions of the strikers.” When three soldiers were killed in an explosion, he made provision for their funeral and burial at Fort Sheridan. Apparently they were not Catholics, and Vattmann arranged for a Chicago cleargyman to preach the funeral sermon. 126 When the strike ended, Steward praised the "valuable and heroic” service of the soldiers, saying that the "whole nation reaped the benefit” of their fidelity. Vattmann attested to their admirable conduct, saying that they refused free drinks repeatedly offered to them by saloon keepers. He also quoted a Chicago newspaper, which said that the phrase "swear like a trooper” would be more appropriate if it were changed to "swear like a rioter and his wife.” 127 His sympathies were obviously not with the strikers. Moreover, his activities during the strike were duly noted. The New York Times reported that he rendered "such good peace service ... in the turbulent stock yards district that Messrs Armour and Swift,