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Presentation Bible from the New York Bible Society, March 1862, possible ID

$225.00

Product Description

This is another nice item being offered, it is a Civil War soldier’s Pocket Bible measuring 4 1/2" x 3" x 1 and having 479 pages. Pasted inside the front cover is the very rare label stating “To the Defenders of their Country! / Presented by the / New York Bible Society. / March 1862”. It is followed by inspirational verses from the bible. This size bible made it easy for a soldier to carry it in his knapsack or coat pocket.

Founded in 1809 to print and distribute Bibles in America’s largest city, the New York Bible Society promoted the tenet that everyone should have access to the Bible. The society gave Bibles to the military beginning with the War of 1812, to seamen and soldiers passing through the city’s busy ports.

Bibles were distributed to Union and Confederate soldiers by the Society. The Civil War posed a real dilemma to the New York based society; continuing to distribute bibles to its auxiliaries in the Confederate states, despite its opposition to slavery. A splinter Confederate States' Bible Society was formed, but the American Bible Society continued to cross battle lines on both sides, distributing more than 3,000,000 bibles before the end of the war.

It appears the first page or two are missing, but there is some very faint writing in period ink. In the back of the bible on a blank page is a signature which appears to be “Nathan Wasson / Spring… / NY”. There was only one soldier with that name, and he enlisted as a Private in the New York 105th Infantry. He enlisted in Ashford, NY, which is just south of Springville, NY.

He was listed as deserted on July 27, 1862 in Waterloo, Virginia. Most Union soldiers serving in the south that were classified as deserted, ended up in a hospital or another unit. It would be very difficult for a Union soldier in Virginia to return home in New York during the Civil War. Of course, I am not 100% sure that this bible belong to Wasson, but there is very strong evidence. With the presentation, it did belong to and was used by a Civil War soldier.

The bible shows signs of extended use as seen in the pictures, but it does remain in solid condition. In my recent book “The Civil War Soldier – His Personal Items”, I show similar examples and go into more detail about the importance of religion to the Civil War soldier. I had similar bibles in the past, but this is the first presentation bible I had in 30+ years, and it is one that was actually handed to a soldier. It would go great in a display of a soldiers personal effects.

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SKU:
0402211
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