Located on the campus of Liberty University, the National Civil War Chaplain’s Museum features an extensive collection of objects and artifacts that tell the story of religion in the camp, on the battlefield, and among prisoners of war. Visitors will learn about the role of chaplains and religious organizations such as the U.S. Christian Commission, and how their commitment to faith affected the daily lives of both Union and Confederate soldiers.
Serving with a Unique Purpose
Founded in 2005, the National Civil War Chaplain’s Museum at Liberty University raises public awareness of the role chaplains, priests, rabbis, and religious organizations played during the Civil War.
Additionally, the museum:
- Preserves religious artifacts from the war
- Advances the study of the distribution of religious doctrine and moral teachings during the war
- Presents programs that show the influence of religion on the lives of political and military personnel
Plan Your Visit to the National Civil War Chaplain’s Museum
Monday-Friday 12-4:30 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. through May 10, 2021.
Special Hours for commencement week May 11-15: Tuesday-Friday 11:00 a.m.-2 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Closed Monday, May 17.
Summer Hours beginning May 18: Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
In keeping with COVID-19 guidelines, the museum allows a limited number of visitors inside at one time. Face masks are required and social distancing is encouraged.
The museum is located on Liberty University’s main campus between the Hancock Welcome Center and the Worley Prayer Chapel.
Called and Commissioned by God
Civil War chaplains performed a variety of duties. They preached, acted as personal counselors, visited the sick, and in some cases even joined in battle. View the following exhibits and more at the Civil War Chaplain’s Museum.
Moved by the onset of war, Christians sought to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those who fought through organizations such as the U.S. Christian Commission.
Sermons, tracts, and other religious publications of the period made frequent use of biblical references to justify the war.
The chaplain’s ministry to the dying often extended from the battlefield or hospital to the comforting of loved ones, either by letter or in person.
Most Civil War chaplains came from the Protestant tradition; among these were African American chaplains as well as one woman. Other chaplains were Catholic or Jewish.
Most chaplains remained far from the battlefield, but some were “fighting chaplains” who took up arms in solidarity with the soldiers to whom they ministered. Noncombatant chaplains assisted medical personnel and provided counsel or last rites to those dying on the battlefield.
Chaplains provided physical comfort and spiritual assurance to the wounded and dying in hospitals and prison camps. They wrote letters to loved ones from husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers.