[The following obituary for Rev. Witherspoon was originally published in The Confederate Veteran, Volume 7 (1899), page 178.]


REV. T. D. WITHERSPOON, D.D.

  [Obituary written by the Rev. John William Jones, author of Christ in the Camp.]

      Chaplain General J. William Jones writes of the private soldier and chaplain of the Army of Northern Virginia:
      The death of this gallant soldier, devoted chaplain, useful minister of the gospel, and noble Christian gentleman, which occurred at his home, in Louisville, Ky., on Thursday night, November 3, 1898, carried widespread grief to old comrades and friends, and deserves a place on the record of our lamented dead.  Born at Greensboro, Ala., January 17, 1836, educated at the famous academy of Professor Henry Tutwiler, in Green County, Ala., the University of Alabama, and the University of Mississippi, where he was graduated in 1856, he had decided to enter the gospel ministry, and took his theological course at the Presbyterian Seminary in Columbia, S.C., of which Dr. Thornwell was the able and distinguished President.  He was ordained May 23, 1860, and became pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Oxford, Miss., where he was exerting a very fine influence on the students of the university located there, and might well have considered it his duty to remain with his Church.

      But when the great "war between the States" was inaugurated by the determination of the Federal Government to violate the constitution and force into measures sovereign States who had simply exercised their God-given constitutional right of governing themselves, the young preacher promptly enlisted as a private soldier in the Lamar Rifles, and was one of those heroes of the rank and file of the Confederate army who "wrote their names among the immortals."

      He afterwards became chaplain of the Second Mississippi Infantry, and then of the Forty-Second Mississippi Infantry, Davis' Brigade, Heth's Division, A.P. Hill's Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.  It was at this time I came to know him intimately, and I do not hesitate to say that he was one of the most devoted, untiring, self-sacrificing, and efficient chaplains that we had in the army.

      An able and attractive preacher of the soul-saving truths of the gospel, and an untiring worker in the camp, on the march, on the battlefield, and in the hospital, he was ever found at the post of duty, even when that was the outpost of the army or the advance line of battle.

      He bore no insignificant part in the labors of those great revivals which reached well-nigh every brigade, made nearly every camp vocal with God's praises, and went graciously on until over fifteen thousand of Lee's veterans had professed faith in Christ and enlisted under the banner of the great "Captain of our salvation."

      After the war Dr. Witherspoon was pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, at Memphis, chaplain of the University of Virginia, pastor of the Tabb Street Presbyterian Church, Petersburg, Va., and of the First Presbyterian Church, Louisville, and lastly professor of homiletics and pastoral theology in the new Presbyterian Seminary, at Louisville.  In all of these positions he fulfilled the prophecy of his earlier years, won the confidence of his brethren, and wide popularity especially among the young men, exerted a large influence, and was greatly useful.  He had promised to make one of the addresses at our chaplain's reunion in Atlanta last year, but wrote me a short time before the meeting that he feared he would be unable to do so because of ill health.

      Alas ! I never saw him again.  We missed his genial presence and graceful, effective speech at our reunion, and but three months later we learned that he had closed his labors on earth and gone to receive his reward and wear his "crown of rejoicing."

      Old comrade, colaborer, brother beloved, farewell!  We shall sadly miss thee at our gatherings, but we shall "meet beyond the river," and meantime we sing with glad acclaim:

                                                      Servant of God, well done;

                                                                                Rest from thy loved employ;

                                                                        The battle fought, the vic'try won,

                                                                                Enter thy Master's joy!

 

[Excerpted from The Confederate Veteran, Volume 7, page 178.]