The Soldier Bishop: Ellison Capers

The Soldier Bishop: Ellison Capers presents the unshakable faith of Rt. Reverend Ellison Capers and how his incredible fortitude created a lasting legacy and would inspire generations to come near Greenville, South Carolina and beyond.


Though he lost loved ones and survived many of his own near-death experiences in some of the most horrific engagements of the War between the States, Capers’ trust in God and the path before him never faltered. In 1865, at the young of age of 28, he was promoted in the military to Brigadier General and, time after time, received recognition for his exemplary leadership and distinguished service, including an appointment as the first Secretary of State of South Carolina upon the state’s reorganization. Even so, his calling to Christ was overpowering. The Governor told him, “You can be a Governor, Senator, or anything you like. You will be a fool to give up all this to become a preacher.”


In 1866, Capers resigned to accept a call to Christ Church Episcopal in Greenville, where he served for 20 years. He was consecrated as bishop for the state of South Carolina in 1893 and moved to Charleston. To escape the summer heat, he purchased a plot of land in Cedar Mountain, N.C., and erected a humble cottage. This inspired in Mrs. Capers a dream to erect an Episcopal chapel for the local mountain population. In 1894, this dream became a reality and “Faith Chapel” was built, with a lot of the labor provided by the Capers’ family.


While “Faith Chapel” did fall into disrepair upon Capers death in 1908, the spirit in the mountain certainly did not. In honor of his enduring influence and guidance, a disciple of Capers from Greenville, the Reverend Dr. Alexander Mitchell, began a movement to rebuild the little chapel and dedicated the new church, “Faith Memorial Chapel,” in Capers’ memory in 1941.


From Brigadier General Capers’ actual sword to the musket balls that nearly killed him, and from his war diaries and handwritten letters to his wife, along with the preserved renderings to rebuild the Chapel to honor his memory, visitors will enter a time capsule that will carry them through an inspirational story of war, love, faith and salvation.

  • Presented By: Upcountry History Museum
  • Dates: September 18, 2021 - February 27, 2022
  • Recurrence: Recurring daily
  • Location: Upcountry History Museum
  • Address: 540 Buncombe St, Greenville, SC 29601
  • Phone: (864) 467-3100
  • Time: Tue-Sat 10 am-5 pm; Sun 1-5 pm
  • Price: Adults - $10, Senior Adults & College Students - $9, Children ages 4-18 - $8, Children ages 3 and under are FREE