Letter of Advocacy: During American’s Civil War
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.