The opening salvos of the Salvation War were fired in Baltimore, Maryland when the Shirley family arrived there in 1881. Early successes followed throughout Maryland and from there the work spread further through the South.
The South was the focus of attention during the Spanish-American War, as Florida became the launching point for American forces before sailing for Cuba. The first work in America among the military took place here among the troops.
The Salvation Army in the South found its fortunes bound to a farm economy that was dominated by ing Cotton and tobacco. As prices rose and fell, corps experienced both boom times and bust. The work was difficult to establish but finally it was felt that the region was strong enough to become its own command.
In April 1927, the National Commander Evangeline Booth came to Atlanta to proclaim the opening of the Southern Territory. Appointed to head the new command were Commissioner and Mrs. William McIntyre, native Canadians but whose service was almost entirely in the United States. The opening was not a smooth one as two years later the Great Depression fell on the world.
As the economy improved and as the South tackled the problems created by years of racial segregation, the Army found more fertile fields for growth. It pragmatic approach to social issues and its simple, but heartfelt proclamation of the Christian Gospel has allowed it to grow at a continuing ccelerated pace. Currently one of the fastest growing territories in the world the Southern Territory is now experiencing growth in new areas such as ethnic ministries with Hispanic and Asian corps.
Innovative social programs have continued to keep the Army’s work relevant through the transition caused by welfare reform The vitality of its Christian message is witnessed by new corps openings, larger numbers of cadets, larger attendance in its meeting and the optimism that comes with a forward march.