The Bishop of the Old South: The Ministry and Civil War Legacy of Leonidas Polk
Leonidas Polk was one of the antebellum South's most significant religious leaders. The son of a wealthy, slaveholding veteran of the Revolutionary War, Polk graduated from West Point in 1827 and seemed destined for martial service. Instead he pursued a ministerial career and was the first Episcopal bishop of Louisiana. Polk attempted to cultivate a religious solidarity among white Southerners of all classes and to broaden the social and cultural appeal of Episcopalianism in the South. Ultimately, Polk's Lost Cause mythmakers developed a public memory of the bishop general that celebrated the virtue of the Christian gentleman who had waged war for Southern independence. A considerable amount of new information on Polk's family, time at West Point, ministry, life as a planter, role with Sewanee, and his place within the pantheon of Lost Cause icons has been brought to light. What emerges is a clearer portrait of the Bishop of the Old South.
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Page 5 - Polk and Middleton, who commanded the state infantry, were no less conspicuous for their good conduct than their intrepidity; and the troops under their command gave a specimen of what may be expected from men, naturally brave, when improved by proper discipline.