The Soldier’s Bible that Saved a Life

Did you know that some of the most valuable Bibles printed in the nineteenth century are the Soldier’s Bibles from the Civil War—especially Confederate editions? The first “Confederate” Soldier’s Bible was the New Testament in the King James Version.

Because they could be intercepted as contraband, any distribution of Bibles to Confederate soldiers was eminently dangerous. For Private Richard R. Best of the North Carolina Infantry, the Bible literally saved his life! In the Battle of Antietam, at Sharpsburg, Maryland in 1862, Private Best’s Bible was in his pocket. It stopped a bullet to his chest, preventing a fatal wound.

That Bible is on display at the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier at Pamplin Historical Park in Petersburg, Virginia.

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