Thursday, September 18, 2008

Elder B.F. Moomaw

In July 1861, the 51st Regiment of the Confederate Army of Virginia, consisting of about 800 men, came into the vicinity of Roanoke to undergo military training. Some local residents, thinking thus to embarass Elder B.F. Moomaw, suggested that Colonel Wharton, who was in charge, locate on the Moomaw farm where there was a fine grove with a flowing stream.

Moomaw gave permission and at once set about to win the friendship of officers and men, at the same time taking care not to compromise his Christian principles. One of his first courtesies was to invite the officers, about twenty, to dinner. Needless to say they all came and enjoyed the hospitality. It was then that the officers dropped the remark that neighbors had directed them to this farm with evil intent.

It wasn't long until Moomaw was asked to preach in camp. He gladly accepted the invitation. Of the occasion he says: I never felt more solemn, standing alone, and the soldiers seated around me on the ground, and I certainly never preached Christ, a peaceable Savior, the Prince of Peace, with more earnestness than then and there.

During the encampment a severe outbreak of measels occurred and many of the soldiers contracted the disease. The Moomaws took many of the sick soldiers into their home and helped nurse them.

September came and the soldiers prepared to move. Out of deep appreciation they wrote the following statement:

Camp J. Johnston, September 18, 1861

We, whose names are hereunto assigned, do take pleasure in testifying that the Rev. B.F. Moomaw has used every exertion in his power to render the invalid soldiers comfortable during our stay at his place, all free of charge for what he or his family did for us.

Some of us have been in that home for six weeks, and, of course, have been a great deal of trouble, for which he would not accept any remuneration. And, furthermore, we certify that the above-named B.F. Moomaw would not accept any pay from any of our friends who visited us while there, but was thankful for having it in his power to relieve our sufferings, which he cheerfully did in an eminnent degree.

And now we are surprised and troubled to hear that some vile and unprincipled wretch, or wretches, have circulated the report that he charged us for all that he did for us. We emphatically, peremptorily and flatly deny it to the fullest extent.

Source: The Brethren Encyclopedia, Donald F. Durnbaugh
adapted from S.F. Sanger and D. Hays, Olive Branch