Thoughts on War

James Waddell - Presbyterian Minister Back
James Waddell - Presbyterian Minister

Rev. James Waddell was a Presbyterian minister in 1775, a time when the freedom to practice the religion of personal choice was on the minds of the members of the Continental Congress. Rev. Waddell was known to have delivered a parting address to a company of men about to engage in the Battle of Guilford in North Carolina. He later had to console the widows of many of those killed.

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"I can only imagine how Rev. James Waddell must have felt as the war progressed. In 1776, he moved his family from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay much further inland and took up the pastorate at Tinkling Spring Meeting House in Augusta County in the Shenandoah Valley.

I have one particular instance documented where Waddell was asked to deliver an address, a sort of a benediction if you will, to these men of Capt. Tate's company who were going off in March of 1781 to go join General Nathaniel Greene and to attempt to keep Cornwalis in North Carolina and keep him from entering Virginia.

Rev. Waddell preached to these men. Obviously there were tears, and a great amount of prayers, blessings, and invocations, and these men marched away. Later that same month, they were key participants in a battle between General Greene's forces and Lord Cornwallis' forces at a place we now call Guilford Court House in North Carolina.

And as I say, I can only imagine how he must have felt - the prayers, the consolations that he gave to those families as their men marched away, and then the burden he must have felt when ten of those men — including Capt. Tate — did not return from that particular battle.

What do you say to a woman who has lost her husband, to children who have lost their father, when you blessed the cause that they went off...marched fight for?"

        Bryan Simpers interprets the character of Reverend Waddell for Colonial Williamsburg.