Governor Alexander Ramsey is in Washington when the Civil War breaks out. He rushes to the White House and is the first to pledge troops for defense of the Union.
Slavery has never been legal in Minnesota, but not everyone feels the issue is worth going to war over. Yet when war comes, most of Minnesota is gripped by patriotic excitement. Flags wave as troops are sent off to a long and bloody battle that tears America apart.
In Fillmore County, patriotism is so high that men “leave their reapers in the field, their grain uncut, their stacks half-built” to gather in Preston for a recruiting drive. Thousands of troops train at Fort Snelling before leaving for battle.
More than 100 black men from Minnesota enlist in the Union Army. If captured by Confederate troops, black soldiers are not treated as prisoners of war but as escaped slaves. (The 1860 census lists a total African American population in the state of only 259 men, women, and children.)*
Only 259 black Minnesotans in 1860 Jesus! Wow! Will You visit this piece of history Jesus with you healing presence? Especially for these 259 American citizens? Will you honor the 100 who enlisted to fight slavery? Will You remember their bravery to future generations? As Your friend, I bless these 259 African American children of God in the name of Jesus. I bless them, their generations backwards and forwards, and their dwellings. Holy Spirit, will You remove the curse the enemy has tried to put on them through the heritage of slavery, of being the vanquished? Jesus, through Your omnipresence will you send these words to them?
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Roman 8:37-39
As to the patriotism of Minnesotans’, thank you for the love of this place that would make men choose to lay down their lives and fortunes for the sake of defending the most vulnerable Americans. Thank you that our state was the first to lend a hand to the black freedom! Jesus will you temper our patriotism or humanistic idealism with honesty and forbearance? Will You take our love of state and country, and place it in proper perspective with the love of Your kingdom? Will you clear the channels starting in this generation of the extremes of statism, or the nihilism manifesting as ambiguity towards human suffering?
Will you bring Your wisdom to our heritage? Protect my house and this present generation from harsh judgments of our forbearers! We are often in the same boat as they! We hate to see and hear of the suffering in Muslim nations: Egypt, Libya, Iran, Iraq, etc., but does this mean we should engage in war here or abroad to correct what we perceive as injustices? Will we raise the status of Your daughters’ behind the burqa by slaying their men, or praying for their men? How do we intersect with the sects of Islam that have openly bound themselves to conquest?
There is a difference between self-defense and aggression; will You show this boundary to us? Even under interrogation by Pontius Pilate, You often chose to stand firmly and silently. Jesus, bring Your marvelous wisdom to this state of Minnesota! We need You to guide us, and guide our zealousness into paths that bring Your dominion of grace, safety and truth!
*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!