Wednesday, Feb. 25, 1862, was “clear and very cold” in Fredericksburg, according to Spartan Band diarist William H. Hill.
But enthusiasm for the Protestant Christian preaching, more than two months after the Rebels’ great slaughter of the Union forces on the slopes of Marye’s Heights, continued without letup.
“I attended the Methodist Church tonight,” Hill wrote in his diary that night, “where the protracted meeting continues with great interest. Nineteen soldiers joined the church tonight and a large number was at the mourners bench.”
By Sunday, March 1, crowds of soldiers were still flocking to hear the sermons and consider their spiritual futures.
Two days later, amid the general camaraderie, some members of the brigade decided to add something else to the general good feeling.
“Louis Leibenfield [identified by McLean as “Lewis,” though Howell’s roster does not include him] of the Commissary department started home this morning,” Hill wrote. “He was sent by the Masons of this Brigade to get a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Mississippi to open a Lodge in camp.”