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Rare – Identified Booklet “A Good Soldier”, dated 1863 – PA Cavalryman, Gettysburg (SOLD)

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Product Description

This is a great identified piece being offered, it is a small paperback booklet measuring 4 ½” x 3 ¼”, titled “A Good Soldier”, by Rev. A.A.E. Taylor. It was published by the Presbyterian Board of Publication in 1863. It is “Dedicated to the Soldiers of the Republic. May they all enlist in the Army of the Lord and become good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” After this dedication, Rev. Taylor develops the work of the soldier of Jesus Christ in ten brief chapters focusing on the spiritual warfare and battle of all Christians.

Inside the book is an old newspaper clipping from the obituary for “Mrs. Emeline Urich, widow of the late John B. Urich”. Her husband John enlisted on June 30, 1863, and mustered into “Bell’s” Company, Pennsylvania Independent Cavalry. At different times during the war, independent cavalry companies were formed, some of which were afterward attached to cavalry regiments. Capt. Robert Bell's company was mustered in on June 23,1863. At the time of Lee's invasion in the summer of 1863, companies of emergency cavalry and two emergency light artillery batteries were mustered into the U. S. service.

By mid-June 1863, it became evident that Confederate forces were moving towards Pennsylvania. It was assumed that their target would be Harrisburg, so these Independent units were brought up to protect the capitol. Urich mustered out on August 9 after the threat from Lee was over. It was during this time that he carried this little book with him, and it appears he referred to it quite often.

Americans of the 19th century were a Bible-reading people. As Abraham Lincoln     noted, pondering the meaning of the Civil War in his Second Inaugural Address, both sides “read the same Bible.” The Bible was accepted as the Word of God, an authority and guide for life. As solders faced physical hardships, separation from their loved ones, the horrors of battle, and the possibility of debilitating wounds or death words from Scripture often gave them spiritual strength for the difficult times.

These little booklets are very rare, being so fragile, very few survived the Civil War. This one shows all the signs of extended use, but it is still in decent condition, being complete and no separations. In my book “The Civil War Soldier – His Personal Items”, I go into detail on the importance of these type of books and how religion was so important to the Civil War soldier (see pictures). I am glad someone, perhaps a son or daughter, had the foresight to put Mrs. Urich’s obituary into the book that her husband carried. The book comes with the obituary and the soldier record of Private Urich – she was buried next to her husband John.


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