Better Late than Never?


Having “faithfully and constantly preached to said soldiers, and in all respects performed all the duties pertaining to said office of chaplain” for the 13th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment from 1865 onwards, the U.S. House of Representatives added Chaplain Stephen Collis to the muster rolls of the Regiment in 1888, the officers of the Regiment having neglected to properly add him as they promised. Below is the transcript of Report No. 555 of the 50th Congress, 1st Session, 5 Dec 1887-20 Oct 1888 (author’s collection):





February 21, 1888.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and ordered to be printed.

Mr. Ford, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted the following


(To accompany bill H.R. 478.)

The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (H.R. 478) to place the name of Rev. Stephen M. Collis on the muster-roll of the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry as chaplain thereof, have had the same under careful consideration and submit the following report:

Said Stephen M. Collis has been for a number of years a regularly ordained minister of the Gospel and a duly authorized preacher of the Baptist Church. That on or about the 1st day of April, 1865, he was on a visit to the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, at Lenoir’s Station, in the State of Tennessee, said regiment being at the time without a chaplain; that while there the officers and soldiers of said regiment by a petition strongly solicited him to remain with said regiment as its chaplain.

That upon such solicitation and a promise by the officers that he should be duly mustered as a chaplain of the regiment, he consented to remain and did remain with said regiment during the remaining period of its service, and faithfully and constantly preached to said soldiers, and in all respects performed all the duties pertaining to said office of chaplain, but his name was not placed upon the rolls of the regiment.

In consideration of the faithful service performed, and the understanding that this aged minister should be paid for his services, which has not been done, the bill is favorably reported.


The bill (H.R. 478) was brought to the floor of the House by Mr. Johnston of North Carolina, on 24 February 1888 where it passed and Chaplain Collis was added to the muster rolls of the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, 20 years after his service.



About Daryl Densford

I am an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene serving as an active-duty Army Chaplain. I am currently an ethics instructor at the U.S. Army Aviation School at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Posted on 14 December 2017, in Chaplaincy, History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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