Saturday, October 25, 2008

This Week in Texas Methodist History October 26

General Magruder Authorizes Cotton Shipments for pay for Advocate, October 28, 1863

The Texas Conference met in annual session in Columbus in late October, 1863. The Civil War had disrupted episcopal visitation schedules so for the second year no bishop presided over the annual conference. Robert Alexander presided instead. The war had created problems in filling all the appointments. Five members were missionaries to the Confederate Army, four had enlisted as chaplains in the army, and six preachers, including last week’s subject, W. G. Veal, had enlisted in various combat roles.

One highlight of the conference was the appearance of General John Bankhead Magruder, Commander of the Confederate District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Magruder was a Virginian who had graduated from West Point. He had preformed ably at Yorktown, Va, against General McClellan, but not so well at the Seven Days Battles. He was reassigned to Texas, a distant theater, and made his home at Houston. His most famous military action was driving the federal forces out of Galveston (temporarily).

His address to the Conference included authorization to ship cotton to Mexico to avoid the federal blockade. The cotton was to loaded on ships flying British flags and sold to pay for the Texas Christian Advocate. Your editor has not been able to learn whether the authorization resulted in revenues for the denominational newspaper.


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