From the Richmond Whig, Monday, 4/17/1865, p. 3, c. 4
THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCHES in the city were closed on yesterday. A brief statement will explain the cause of this proceeding.
The Episcopal churches, it seems, were obnoxious to “General Order No. 29,” which says: “In all churches where prayers have heretofore been offered for the so-called President of the Confederate States, a similar mark of respect is hereby ordered to be paid to the President of the United States.” The rules of the church enjoin that while omissions may be made in the prayers, no portion shall be changed except by authority of an Ecclesiastical Council, which must be presided over by the Bishop of the Diocese. The prayers heretofore used included the words “Confederate States,” and though the clergymen were at liberty, and were willing, to omit the objectionable words, they had no authority to substitute therefor the words “United States.” Bishop Johns is in Halifax, therefore there could be no communication with him, and no Council could be held.
In this dilemma the clergymen of the various churches waited on General Ord and stated the case. The General said the explanation was perfectly satisfactory, but the churches must be closed; the clergy were obliged to obey their ecclesiastical, and he his military superiors.