It’s the small stories that you will never find in History books that our schools supply that I find give a much better picture of our Confederate ancestors.
The following story as given by Robert Styles is one. It’s taken from ---
FOUR YEARS UNDER MARSE ROBERT
BY ROBERT STILES
Major of Artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia
“An incident occurred, on or near the Nine-Mile road, some time before the week of battle opened, which is strongly illustrative at once of my father's faith and of the childlike simplicity of the great bulk of our soldiery. Two companies, I think from South Carolina, were supporting a section of our battery in an advanced and somewhat isolated position. About the middle of the afternoon father drove down from Richmond, and after he had distributed his provisions and talked with us a while, proposed to have prayers, which was readily acceded to. Quite a number of men from the neighboring commands gathered, and just as we knelt and my father began his petitions the batteries across the way sent two or three shells entirely too close to our heads to be comfortable-- I presume just by way of determining the object of this concourse.”
“ I confess my faith and devotion were not strong enough to prevent my opening my eyes and glancing around. The scene that met them was almost too much for my reverence and came near being fatal to my decorum. Our Carolina supports, like the rest of us, had knelt and closed their eyes at my father's invocation and, simple-hearted fellows that they were, felt that it would be little less than sacrilege to rise or to open them until the prayer should be completed; and yet their faith was not quite equal to assuring them of God's protection, or at least they felt it would be wise and well to supplement the protection of heaven by the trees and stumps of earth, if they could find them, and so they were actually groping for them with arms wide extended but eyes tight closed, and still on their knees. “”
“I hardly know what might have been the effect upon me of this almost impossibly ludicrous scene had I not glanced toward my father. As was his habit in public prayer, he was standing; his tall, majestic figure erect and his worshipful, reverent face upturned to Heaven. Not a nerve trembled, not a note quavered. In a single sentence he committed us all to God's special keeping while we worshipped; and then, evidently, he did worship and supplicate the Divine Being without the slightest further consciousness of the bursting shells, which in a few moments ceased shrieking above or about us, and our little service closed without further interruption. And then it was beautiful to observe how these simple-hearted boys gazed at my father, as if indeed he had been one of the ancient prophets; but I heard some of them say they liked that old preacher mighty well, but they didn't just feel certain whether they wanted him around having prayers so close under the Yankee guns; that he "didn't seem to pay hardly enough attention to them things."