Chaplaincy History

Official Chaplain Corps Histories

Link for PDF file of: Chaplains of the United States Army, Roy J. Honeywell, 1958 Office of the Chief of Chaplians, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C., 1958.

Link for PDF file of: From Its European Antecedents to 1791, The United States Army Chaplaincy, Parker C. Thompson, Volume 1, 1978. Office of the Chief of Chaplians, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C., 1978.

Link for PDF file of: Struggling for Recognition, The United States Army Chaplaincy, 1791-1865, Herman A. Norton, Volume II, 1977 Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C., 1977.

Link for PDF file of: Up From Handymen, The United States Army Chaplaincy, 1865-1920, Earl F. Stover, Volume III, 1977 Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C., 1977.

Link for PDF file of: The Best and Worst of Times, The United States Army Chaplaincy, 1920-1945, Robert L. Gushwa, Volume IV, 1977 Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C., 1977.

Link for PDF file of: Confidence in Battle, Inspiration in Peace, The United States Army Chaplaincy, 1945-1975, Rodger R. Venzke, Volume V, 1977. Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C., 1977.

Link for PDF file of: Encouraging Faith, Serving Soldiers, The United States Army Chaplaincy, 1975-1995, Part One, John W. Brinsfield, Jr., 1997 Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C., 1997.

Link for PDF file of: He Was Always There, The U.S. Army Chaplain Ministry in the Vietnam Conflict, Henry F. Ackermann, 1989 Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C., 1989.

Link for PDF file of: Courageous in Spirit, Compassionate in Servce, The Gunhus Years,1999-2003, Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C. 20310, 2003.

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Chaplain Manuals (& their history)

Link for PDF file of: The Operational, Social, and Religious Influences Upon the Army Chaplain Field Manual, 1926-1952, 2008, by Chaplain (MAJ) Robert Nay  ABSTRACT: The early formulation of the Army Chaplain Field Manual reveals the Army Chaplaincy struggling with individuals using the Army Chaplain Field Manual to further their social and religious beliefs upon other chaplains. The research is to determine what were the influences and who were the chaplains that promulgated their own agenda at the expense of the free exercise of religious beliefs by other chaplains. The research begins with chaplains who privately published “Manuals” and “Duties” of chaplains. These writings contributed to the first edition of the chaplain manual in 1926. The draft 1926 manual is also compared with the first edition to reveal issues the Army Adjutant General wanted changed in the manual. A developmental and comparative analysis will be conducted upon the following editions 1937, 1941, 1944, 1947 and 1952. The results of the research reveal that the early chaplaincy struggled with their non-combatant status. Second, social issues such as recreation and the playing of “moving pictures” on the Sabbath were respected by the military but progressives within the chaplaincy forced their agenda upon the majority of chaplains in the military.

Lind for PDF file of: The Proximity Principle: Army Chaplains on the Fighting Line in Doctrine and History, by Chaplain (MAJ) Philip A. Kramer. ABSTRACT: The first official US Army chaplain doctrine appeared in 1926 and contained this guidance: “The duty of the chaplain lies with the men of his command who are on the fighting line.” This guidance reflected a principle of proximity – that is, chaplains minister wherever their soldiers are found, up to and including during direct ground combat. ¶ The primary argument of this thesis is that this proximity principle – both in chaplain history and chaplain doctrine – has been a dominant theme of the Army chaplain’s ministry. The 1926 fighting line verbiage and concept codified what chaplains had habitually practiced up to that time. Indeed, a broad analysis of literature written by chaplains prior to 1926 and lessons learned by chaplains during the First World War demonstrates that the 1926 doctrine accurately codified a timeless and enduring principle. In addition, a survey of chaplain doctrine since 1926 shows that the proximity principle has consistently remained a part of official Army chaplain ministry. Furthermore, a historical survey of select chaplains in ground combat since 1926 demonstrates that the proximity principle remains a timeless and highly effective form of Army chaplain ministry, whose most ardent practitioners are held up as exemplars for current and future chaplains.

Link for PDF file of: The Army Chaplain’s Manual, J. Pinkney Hammond, 1863 The Army Chaplain’s Manual. Designed as a help to dchaplains in the discharge of their various duties, both temporal and spiritual. Containing also all the laws and regulations in regard to chaplains together with the proper steps to be taken to secure a chaplain’s appointment. By Rev. J. Pinkney Hammond, M.A., Chaplain U.S. Army. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & co., 1863. PREFACE: The author has been induced to offer this book to his brother chpalians in thehope of supplying a want which has beenlong felt in the chaplain’s department of the army.  In the absence of all “army regulations” defining the duties of chaplains, much difficulty has at times been experienced in determining the exact routine of labor which, in addition to the public religious services of the camp or hospital, would render the chaplain most useful to those intrusted to his spiritual care. To offer a few suggestions, and to point out certain channels of usefulness which experience has proved to be effective, is the design of the author in the following pages. ¶ If they shall be the means of stirring up the hearts of any to greater zeal and earnestness in the perormance of the responsible work uponi which they have entered, he will feel that the object of his labors has, in this instance, been attained.  St. John’s College U.S. Army Hospital, Annapolic, MD., March 10, 1863.

Link for PDF file of: The Army Chaplain, W. Y. Brown, 1863 The Army Chaplain: His Office, Duties, and Responsibilities, and the Means of Aiding Him. By Rev. W. Y. Brown, A.M., Hospital Chaplain, United States Army. Philadelphia: william S. & alfred Martien, No. 606 Chestnut Street. 1863. PREFACE: As the duties of the Chaplain in the army are very imperfectly defined, it has occured to the writer, that a small work upon the subject was needed, and would add to the efficiency of the corps, and be of service to the army and the country.  ¶ Desiring to bring the work within the requirements of the Army Regulations, he has omitted several topics, which he would otherwise have discussed, which lie beyond the range of existing laws and regulations.  ¶ It is also hoped that a more definite knowledge, by the immediate friends and relatives of the soldiers, of the character and extent of the religious privileges to which they are entitled in the field and the hopsital, will lessen their anxieties, and in some measure, mitigate their sufferings on their behalf.  W.Y.B., Douglas Hospital, Washington, D.C., April 24, 1863.

Link for PDF file of: Nave’s Handbook on the Army Chaplaincy, Orville J. Nave, 1917 Nave’s Handbook on the Army Chaplaincy with a Supplement on the duty of the churches to aid the chaplains by follow-up work in conserving the moral and religous welfare of the men under the Colors. By Orville J. Nave, D.D., LL.D., Chaplain, U.S. Army, Retired. President of Religious Welfare League for the Army and Navy. Los Angeles, California: 1917.

Link for PDF file of: Chaplain’s Duties, George J. Waring, 1912 Chaplain’s Duties and How Best to Accomplish His Work by Chaplain George J. Waring, Eleventh Cavalry. War Department: Office of the Chief of Staff. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1912.

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Un-Official Chaplain Corps Histories

Link for PDF file of: Chaplains of the Government, Lorenzo D. Johnson, 1856  Chaplains of the General Government, with Objections to their Employment Considered. Also, a List of All the Chaplains to Congress, in the Army and in the Navy, From the Formation of the government to this Time. By Lorenzo D. Johnson, Author of “Churches and Pastors of Washington.” New York: Sheldon, Blakeman & Co., 115 Nassau Street, 1856.

Link for PDF file of Leadership and Transformation of The Army Chaplaincy During WWII: DOTMLPF-P As An Assessment Tool For Religious Support, Chaplain (Colonel) Robert Nay, 2020. “Chaplain (MG) William Arnold was the Army Chief of Chaplains from December 23, 1937 to February 14, 1945. During World War II, Chaplain Arnold oversaw the greatest transformation in our nation’s history of the Army Chaplaincy. Many of the changes he implemented preceded the Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel, Facilities, Policy (DOTMLPF-P) framework found in the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS). These accomplishments resulted in chaplains providing timely and effective religious support and advising the command on issues of religion and morale. This contributed to an enduring chaplain identity and lessons for today’s force developers as they work to transform the Army to meet current and future challenges.”

Link for PDF file of: The Military Chaplaincy of the U.S. Army, Focusing on World War II Chaplains in Combat, Patrick G. Skelly, 2007  “Events and experience of World War II transformed the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps from an adjunct organization into a permanent organic component of the Army. This was largely the result of individual actions and initiatives, rather than through War Plans evolution. This paper will study the actions of four chaplains in combat, of different faiths and with different perspectives and responsibilities. Chaplains, like other soldiers, are human. And the history of the World War II combat chaplains can only be told by speaking of such men: Chaplain (Capt.) Albert J. Hoffman, Battalion Chaplain, 3rd Battalion, 133rd Infantry, 34th Infantry Division; Chaplain (Capt.) Israel A.S. Yost, Battalion Chaplain, 100th Infantry Battalion (Nisei); Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Wallace M. Hale, Division Chaplain, 88th Infantry Division; Chaplain (Capt.) David Max Eichhorn, Staff Chaplain, Headquarters, XV Corps.”

Link for PDF file of: Providing Shepherds for Soldiers, Mark Francis O’Malley, 21 April 2010 Providing Shepherds for Soldiers: A History of Catholic Military Chaplaincy in the U.S. Reverend Mark Francis O’Malley, Hist.Eccl.D. April 21, 2010, Archbishop Peter L. Gerety Lecture Series, Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, Seton Hall University. “The history of Catholic military chaplaincy reaches back to the Roman armies of Constantine, when priests were attached to military troops in order to provide for the spiritual support of soldiers during the journey into battle. From the battles of Christian Rome through the Crusades of the Middle Ages and the post-Reformation wars of fragmented Christendom, till the present, Catholic military chaplaincy has existed in some distinct manner. This evening, I would like to present the story of Catholic chaplaincy in the United States by first providing an overview of the institutional development; followed by a review of the activity of the military bishops during the wars of the twentieth century; and finally a sampling of the activity of select chaplains.”



“For Courageous Fighting and Confident Dying” by Warren B. Armstrong, University Press of Kansas, 1998 (author’s collection).


“The Sword of the Lord: Military Chaplains from the First to the Twenty-First Century” edited by Doris L. Bergen, University of Notre Dame Press, 2004 (author’s collection).


“Rabbis at War: The Canra Story” by Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein, American Jewish Historical Society, 1971 (author’s collection).


“Faith in the Fight: Civil War Chaplains” by John W. Brinsfield, William C. Davis, Benedict Maryniak, James I. Robertson, Jr., Stackpole Books, 2003 (author’s collection).


“The Spirit Divided: Memoirs of Civil War Chaplains, The Confederacy” edited by John Wesley Brinsfield, Jr., Mercer University Press, 2006 (author’s collection).


“Serving Two Masters: The Development of American Military Chaplaincy, 1860-1920” by Richard M. Budd, University of Nebraska Press, 2002 (author’s collection).


“Soldiers of God: The True Story of the U.S. Army Chaplains” by Christopher Cross, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1945 (author’s collection).


“Serving God and Country: U.S. Military Chaplains in World War II” by Lyle W. Dorsett, Berkley, 2012 (author’s collection).


“For God and Country: The History of a Constitutional Challenge to the Army Chaplaincy” by Israel Drazin and Cecil B. Currey, KTAV Publishing House, 1995 (author’s collection).


“German Military Chaplains in WWII” by Mark Hayden, Schiffer Pub Ltd, 2005 (author’s collection).


“The Churches and the Chaplaincy” by Richard G. Hutcheson, John Knox Press, 2005 (author’s collection).


“Faith and Hope in a War-Torn Land: The US Army Chaplaincy in the Balkans, 1995-2005” by Chaplain (LTC) Kenneth E. Lawson, Combat Studies Institute Press, 2006 (author’s collection).

Chaplaincy-Puerto Rico 1898351

“With Courage and Confidence: The US Army Chaplaincy and the Puerto Rico Campaign of 1898” by Kenneth E. Lawson (author’s collection)


“The Spirit Divided: Memoirs of Civil War Chaplains, The Union” compiled and edited by Benedict R. Maryniak and John Wesley Brinsfield, Jr., Mercer University Press, 2007 (author’s collection).


Leadership and Transformation of The Army Chaplaincy During WWII: DOTMLPF-P As An Assessment Tool For Religious Support, Chaplain (Colonel) Robert Nay, Office of the Chief of Chaplains, 2020.


“Rebel Religion: The Story of the Confederate Chaplains” by Herman Norton, Bethany Press, 1961 (author’s collection).


“Chaplains in Gray: The Confederate Chaplains’ Story” by Charles F. Pitts, R.M.J.C. Publications, 2003 (author’s collection).


“Christian Science Military Ministry, 1917-2004: by Kim M. Schuette, Brocton Publishing, 2008 (author’s collection).


“The Fighting Rabbis: Jewish Military Chaplains and American History” by Albert Isaac Slomovitz, NYU Press, 1998 (author’s collection).


“The Navy Chaplain and His Parish” by Waldo E.L Smith, Queen’s Printer, 1967 (author’s collection).


“Bilder und Texte aus der Soldatenseelsorge, 1550-1945,” 1983 (author’s collection).


“Mensch, Was Wollt Ihr denen sagen?, Katholisches Militarbischofsamt (Hrsg.)” by Pattloch Verlag, Pattloch Verlag, 1991 (author’s collection).

  1. Some of the linked documents are incomplete/corrupted, for example:
    usarmychaplaincyhistory-chaplainsoftheusarmy.pdf has only 6 pages
    usarmychaplaincyhistory-thegunhusyears-1999-2003.pdf has only 9 pages
    usarmychaplaincyhistory-vietnam_conflict.pdf has 14 pages
    usarmychaplaincyhistory3-upfromhandymen.pdf has 8 pages
    Please could you upload these documents again.
    Best wishes


  2. Thank you for the information. James Curtis Jr is President of Education Foundation, Director, Internet Graduate Research Institute


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