Let­ter of Ad­vo­cacy: Dur­ing Amer­i­can’s Civil War

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For the lo­cal level, “a trio of Ad­ven­tist min­is­ters pre­sented Gover­nor Austin Blair of Michigan with an of­fi­cial state­ment.”101 “Blair’s cour­te­ous re­cep­tion and his will­ing­ness to ac­knowl­edge that Sev­enth-day Ad­ven­tists were en­ti­tled to all im­mu­ni­ties se­cured by law to those who are con­sci­en­tiously op­posed to bear­ing arms, or en­gag­ing in war,” caused sim­i­lar pe­ti­tions to be pre­sented to the gover­nors of Illi­nois, Penn­syl­va­nia, and Wis­con­sin.

For the na­tional level, John N. An­drews was cho­sen by the Gen­eral Con­fer­ence Com­mit­tee to carry the case to Washington. There, on Au­gust 30, 1864, he met with Provost Mar­shall Gen­eral James B. Fry. An­drews car­ried a pam­phlet en­ti­tled “The Draft,” which is an ex­pla­na­tion of the Sev­enth-day Ad­ven­tist’s non­com­bat­ant po­si­tion. Although Gen­eral Fry as­sured An­drews that he would is­sue or­ders to his sub­or­di­nates to rec­og­nize all Sev­enth-day Ad­ven­tists who es­tab­lished proof of church mem­ber­ship as non­com­bat­ants many lo­cal com­man­ders had no sym­pa­thy for con­sci­en­tious ob­jec­tors of any kind. Then, Ad­ven­tist draftees fre­quently found them­selves threat­ened with the guard­house or im­me­di­ate as­sign­ment to a front-line po­si­tion, with or with­out a gun.102 Para­dox­i­cally, it an­gered front­line

com­man­ders more than giv­ing help to the Ad­ven­tists. Their re­la­tion­ship was wors­ens.

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