Shingleroof Campmeeting

    

Ten Generations of Worship in the Pioneer  Tradition
Located in Henry County, Georgia U.S.A
Documented by Gene Morris Jr.
Henry County Historian
A Local Legacies Project Submitted to
The U.S. Library of Congress in 1999

 

Chapter Three

 

The War Years

The experiences of the people of Shingleroof Campmeeting parallel those of Southerners in general. In 1971, Henry County Historian Vessie Thrasher Rainer (1898-1987) recorded in Henry County, Georgia - The Mother of Counties that just nine days after Fort Sumter was fired upon on April 12, 1861, volunteer groups began forming in Henry County. Shingleroof Campground was the muster area and training ground. On April 21, 1861 Company G, 19th Georgia Regiment, led by Captain T. W. Flynt organized with 79 volunteers. Their muster roll, which was signed at Shingleroof, states: "We hereby tender our services to the Governor of the State of Georgia, for the defense of the State of Georgia and the Confederate States and agree in case we have arms and accoutrements from the State or Confederate States, that we will hold ourselves in readiness to enter the Service of the State, or the Confederate States for the term of during the existing War between the Confederate States and the United States, unless sooner discharged, and that we will march on short notice at any time until our difficulties with the United States are settled."

In the United Daughters of the Confederacy Memorial Edition of The Henry County Weekly on April 24, 1908, John T. Oglesby wrote about his boyhood recollections of Shingleroof Campground as a Confederate Muster Area: "I witnessed the organizing of Captain Flynt's company at Shingle Roof Campground; I listened to the elegant appeal of Southern statesmen calling for volunteers; I looked on with pride as the young men around Shingleroof Campground and in Henry County would march up; join the roll and pledge their loyalty and fidelity to the cause of the Southern Confederacy. The very best blood of the land, gallant young men, coming from the very best families leaving good homes and wealth, life of ease were being enrolled. Anxious parents, wives whose husbands were daily enlisting poured into old Shingleroof Campground to see their loved ones trained and equipped for that bloody struggle that was to come."

The wartime Journal of Margaret Helen Dailey provides a great view of the mood at Shingleroof during the War Between the States. The following excerpts focus on the journal entries made at Campmeeting time:

1861 "The next week, we, Sister Mary and I, attended a barbecue 5 or 6 miles from home, given for some volunteers. Captain Hitch's Company, called the Bartow Invincibles. I made arrangements that day to get up and present the company with a flag. Next week we attended Camp Meeting, had good preaching, and withal a good meeting. The next few weeks was a scene of action and excitement for me. I went to Atlanta with some girls to get our flag. We found it rather difficult to get, but after a stay of nearly a week, I returned home with it and presented it with an address the 3rd of October."
1862 "September 18 Today has been appointed by our President as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God for our late signal victories. We removed to the McDonough Camp Ground where we always tent. We stayed four days, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, which was as long as the meeting lasted. There were several good preachers in attendance, though none of our giant intellects. There were a good many people there considering the times. We bad a tolerably good meeting, several conversions and seventeen accessions to the Church. Among the number was my friend, Mattie Ward. Oh, I am so glad! I now feel more determined to press forward for the 'prize'. 0, Lord, help me. My friend, T.A.W. and Cousins John and Oscar Perry were there from Savannah, and I enjoyed their lovely companionship more than ever before. While at Camp Meeting, we heard of another great battle and victory in Maryland. The particulars we can not hear, only that General D. H. Hill's division was attacked by twice the number of enemy, and the latter was driven back three miles. Mary Stillwell, Sue Manson, Eliza Gibson and Armanda Thaxton stayed with us most of the time and altogether we had quite a social entertainment in the meeting of friends, besides the religious good accomplished.
September 23. Tuesday. We removed home again, bidding the old Camp Ground and friends good-bye perhaps never to see them again this side of the grave. How sad, how bitter the thought and more especially did my heart feel the pang with one who must return to the tented fields. We may not meet again in time, but O Lord, weave for him a chaplet of immortality at thy right hand!"
1863 "September 17. Brother Sam's baby died a few days ago. He and Mollie grieved so much for it.... Again we are on the McDonough Campground. One year thou hast spared us, 0 Lord. Let thy goodness and mercy lead us to repentance! Uncle Hardy preached from Luke 18:1.
September 18. At eight o'clock Rev. Harbin preached from Romans 5:1. Eleven o'clock Rev. Adams preached from Matthew 3:3. Rev. Parker preached that night from Colossians. Colonel Travis preached at night from John 12:26.
September 19. Eight o'clock Rev. W. Parker preached from 'Jesus Only'. Eleven o'clock Rev. H. J. Adams preached from Luke 23:42-43. Three o'clock Rev. Knoles preached, But I did not attend. At night Rev. T. B. Harbin preached.
September 20. Eight o'clock Rev. W. R. Branham preached from 'Thy will be done'. Eleven o'clock Rev. Ware of Virginia preached. Three o'clock Rev. Luther Smith preached from "woe unto thee, Chorazin, etc.' At night Rev. R Waters preached from Luke 11:21-22.
September 21. Eight o'clock Rev. Manson preached Cousin John Selfridge's funeral from 'We know that if this tabernacle were dissolved', etc. Eleven o'clock Rev. H. J. Adams preached. Three o'clock Rev. Ware preached from Romans 5:1. At night there was Baptism and Communion, etc. I think that if ministers ever did their duty it was done at this camp meeting. People were serious generally. We had a good meeting. There was not as much excitement as there is sometimes. There were some conversions and several accessions to the Church. I do not know how many. ... Heard of a great battle in progress near Ringgold, Ga. That threw gloom over the people more or less. The 30* was engaged. Reports are that we were successful."
1864 (Refugeeing in Jeffersonville and Gordon, GA)
"September 3. Sunday. Yesterday we received word that Atlanta has been evacuated by our troops. There has been a fair fight in Jonesboro, General Hood's army cut up and he himself killed. The facts are bad, I know, but I fear for the dear folks at home and vicinity. 0 Lord, be though our shield and covert in stormy blast.
September 15. Received a letter from my Beloved yesterday and answered it today. Poor fellow, he is somewhat 'blue' on not hearing from me. He has accepted the position of 1st Lieutenant in the company which he originally belonged. Otherwise he would not have done it. After the fall of Atlanta, General Sherman proposed to General Hood and it was accepted, an armistice often days, and issued an order requiring the citizens of Atlanta to take the 'oath' and go North, all the others to go South. Such atrocious brutality was never recorded in the history of our civilized nation. Surely the vengeance of heaven will overtake such people. No news from home since the fall of our Gate City. I feel quite anxious indeed about the good folks there. Oh, how different everything is from what it was a year ago! Today is the anniversary of our removal to camp meeting every year. How sad the contrast! My heart aches in contemplating it!
September 21 Received two letters from home and one from Dock. There is and has been so much excitement in McDonough and vicinity; everybody is torn up; the Yankees and our soldiers destroying before them. My dearest friends have suffered, amongst them is the father of my dear Mattie Ward. Oh, how anxious I have been for them, and my anxiety has not been without grounds. Had I known I could have gone home, I would have done so during this armistice, for I am heartily tired of this place. I almost detest it. But this is the last day and there will probably be some forward movement from Atlanta soon."
Henry County had suffered many raids during the Battles of nearby Jonesboro and Atlanta; however, the worst was to come on November 16th when the 35,000 men of the Right Wing of Sherman's Army looted, burned and ransacked Henry County on their infamous "March to the Sea". 

End of Chapter Three

 

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