Compiled by

An American Civil War Veteran

MAJOR WHITTLE, of the United States Army, and
          for long a well-known preacher, thus details how
the great change took place:
   "When the Civil War broke out, I left my home in New
England and came to Virginia as lieutenant of a company
in a Massachusetts regiment.   My dear mother was a
devout Christian, and parted from me with many a tear,
and followed me with many a prayer.   She had placed a
New Testament in a pocket of the haversack that she
arranged me.

   "We had many engagements, and I saw many sad sights,
and in one of the battles I was knocked out, and that night
my arm was amputated above the elbow.   As I grew
better, having a desire for something to read, I felt in my

haversack, which I had been allowed to keep, and found
the little Testament my mother had placed there.

   "I read right through the book--Matthew, Mark, Luke,
to Revelation.   Every part was interesting to me; and I
found to my surprise that I could understand it in a way
that I never had before.   When I had finished Revelation,
I began at Matthew, and read it through again.   And so
for days I continued reading, and with continued interest;
and still with no thought of becoming a Christian, I saw
clearly from what I read the way of salvation through

   "While in this state of mind, yet still with no purpose or
plan to repent and accept the Saviour, I was awakened
one midnight by the nurse, who said: ‘There is a boy in
the other end of the ward, one of your men, who is dying.
He has been begging me for the past hour to pray for him,
or to get someone to pray for him, and I can't stand it
I am a wicked man, and can't pray, and I have come to
get you.’

   "‘Why,’ said I, ‘I can't pray.   I never prayed in my
life.   I am just as wicked as you are.’   ‘Can't pray!’ said
the nurse; ‘why, I thought sure from seeing you read the
Testament that you were a praying man.   And you are the
only man in the ward that I have not heard curse.   What
shall I do?   There is no one else for me to go to.   I can't
go back there alone.   Won't you get up and come and see
him at any rate?’

   "Moved by his appeal, I arose from my cot, and went
with him to the far corner of the room.   A fair-haired boy
of seventeen or eighteen lay there dying.   There was a look
of intense agony upon his face, as he fastened his eyes
upon me and said:

   "‘Oh, pray for me!   Pray for me!   I am dying.   I was a
good boy at home in Maine.   My mother and father are
members of the Church, and I went to Sunday School and
tried to be a good boy.   But since I became a soldier I
have learned to be wicked.   I drank, and swore, and
gambled, and went with bad men.   And now I am dying,
and I am not fit to die!   Oh, ask God to forgive me!   Pray
for me.   Ask Christ to save me!’

   "As I stood there and heard these pleadings, God said
to my soul by His Spirit, just as plainly as if He had

spoken in audible tones, ‘You know the way of salvation.
Get right down on your knees and accept Christ
, and pray
for this boy.’

   "I dropped upon my knees and held the boy's hand in
mine, as in a few broken words I confessed my sins, and
asked God for Christ's sake to forgive me.   I believed right
there that He did forgive me
, and that I was Christ's child.
I then prayed earnestly for the boy.   He became quiet,
and pressed my hand as I pleaded the promises.   When I
arose from my knees he was dead.   A look of peace was
upon his face, and I can but believe that God, who used
him to bring me to my Saviour, used me to get his atten-
tion fixed upon Christ and to lead him to trust in His
precious blood.   I hope to meet him in Heaven.

   "Many years have passed since that night in the Rich-
mond Hospital, and I am still trusting and confessing the
Lord Jesus Christ, and purpose by God's grace to continue
doing so until He calls me Home."

[Twice-Born Men] [Christian Home Bible Course]