From the Richmond Dispatch, 6/23/1868, p. 1, c. 6

BAPTISM OF NEGROES. – An immense concourse of negroes and many white persons witnessed the baptism by immersion of about twenty-five colored persons in Bloody run last Sunday. The spot selected for the administration of the ordinance was near Chimborazo church, where the stream runs between two high hills, upon the slopes of which, and in the valley below, the spectators were gathered. The stream had been dammed, and a font of water waist deep formed, sheltered by a rudely built hut. Near by, dressing rooms for males and females were prepared.

The preachers (both colored men) stood in the water, and received the applicants for baptism as they came down from the dressing-rooms in pairs, the women wearing white dresses, and the men in their shirt-sleeves – all without shoes or covering for the head. During the ceremony passages of Scripture were recited in a loud voice by one of the preachers, and at intervals the sound of a hymn, sung by a thousand negro voices, ascended from the valley and touched the ears of those who stood upon the heights above.

Notwithstanding the extreme heat, the spectacle was witnessed with interest by the spectators. It would have been impressive, but towards the last some of the colored people seemed inclined to have a frolic, and made the narrow defile echo with conversation and boisterous laughter. When the last man emerged from the water there was a great rush up the hillsides, and every negro made his way towards Chimborazo church, where a sermon was preached and other services held in the presence of a congregation which filled the house and covered half an acre of ground outside.


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