CIVIL WAR PERIOD NEW TESTAMENT SIGNED BY A REBEL OF THE 66th NC AND A YANKEE FROM THE 85th PA

$1,350.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 2022-795

Shipping: Determined by Method & Location of buyer

To Order:
Call 717-334-0347,
Fax 717-334-5016, or E-mail

This little New Testament comes to us with an interesting history. Although it is in well-loved condition, this small pocket testament comes complete with a history all its own – first from a Confederate soldier of the 66th North Carolina and then from a Yankee in the 85th PA with a small signature from a young girl post-war. Read on for the complete history!

Private James H. Windley was born in 1846, so he was quite a young fellow when he enlisted in Company B of the 66th North Carolina in October of 1863 at age 17.

The 66th North Carolina was formed when two regiments were consolidated into one in October 1863 by order of Confederate Secretary of War James Seddon. The 8th NC Battalion Partisan Rangers and the 13th NC Battalion infantry to form the 66th North Carolina Infantry. The 66th spent its time in North Carolina and then in and around Petersburg. After the siege of Petersburg, the regiment headed off to Fort Fisher, with some skirmishes in between, and saw the elephant for the last time at Bentonville. Shortly after the surrenders at Appomattox and at Bennett Place, the men of the 66th scattered to the four winds.

Our subject here, Private Windley, was somehow captured near Fairfield, North Carolina early on in the regiment’s service in February 1864, and was held as a prisoner of war at Point Lookout. This is where Private Windley is gifted this pocket-sized New Testament. He dates the inside cover “Point Lookout Md. March 6th 1864.” There is a form style note, filled out, and pasted into the front cover, which reads:

From the Maryland State Bible Society / To James H. Windley Soldier in / Comp’y A Reg. 66th NC Infy Vol’es. / Should I die on the battle field or in / Hospital, for the sake of humanity, acquaint / My sister, Mrs. Margaret Bishop residing / at Pantego Beaufort Co. NC /of the fact, and where my remains may be found.

 

On the very first page, written in period ink, is “Jas. H. Windley / From / I. G. Baker.”

Sadly, James did not live long after the war. He worked as a farmer until his death in November 1869; he suffered from chronic consumption after the war and eventually died from it. Burial records could not be found for Mr. Windley, but it likely he is buried in Beaufort, North Carolina with his family.

There’s a bonus inscription in the very last pages of this New Testament. Another soldier has doodled his name in pencil on the back cover, while a small girl has also written her name on the back of the last page. The soldier’s inscription reads: On bord Lexington / November 5th 1864 / at Port Royal SC / J.S. Dick Co. K 85 / [R] Regt Pa Vols.

The other pencil inscription, which is riddled by modern blue ink-pen, reads: Ann Miner / Book / Annie [Gelper] / Feb 11- 189[last digit illegible]. A young girl must have inscribed her name some twenty-five or thirty years after both of the soldiers did. This inscription is noted here for completeness of the description but so far as we can tell it does not fit with the soldier’s story of this piece as Ann or Annie cannot be verified as a child of either soldier involved. We did not go into the next generation though, so this could bear more research.

Private Jonas Dick enlisted at Bullskin, Pennsylvania (yes, you read that right) in February 1862. He served his full three-year term with the regiment until the 85th PA was combined into the 192nd Pennsylvania.

Jonas went on to have a family with his wife, Martha, whom he married in 1869. The family spent time living in Illinois and eventually settled in Iowa. Mr. Dick spent his life working as a laborer, coal miner, and as a farmer. Sadly, Jonas died at the early age of 53 in 1895. He is buried in Grant, Iowa in Grant Cemetery.

The 85th Pennsylvania was part of the 4th Corps of the Army of the Potomac during their early service and served in battles such as the Siege of Yorktown, the battle of Williamsburg, and Fair Oaks. The regiment was present for Foster’s expedition after being transferred to the 7th Corps. Finally, the regiment closed out 1862 being transferred yet again, this time to the 18th Corps where they moved further into the south spending time in South Carolina. The regiment eventually found their final assignment in the 10th Corps. While with the 10th Army Corps, the men of the 85th took part in the attack on Morris Island and the assaults on Fort Wagner before heading back up into Virginia for battles in and around Richmond and Petersburg such as Ware Bottom Church, Drewry’s Bluff, Chaffin’s Farm, and Fair Oaks. One month later, in November 1864, the regiment was combined with the 192nd PA.

So, we could infer that this New Testament was given to Private Windley of the 66th NC shortly after he was captured and sent to Point Lookout. Either Windley lost his pocket New Testament or he actually handed off the small book to Private Dick while he was on board the USS Lexington, possibly when the Windley was exchanged. However, since we were unable to obtain Private Dick’s service records, we cannot be certain. Was the USS Lexington where the prisoners were exchanged? Did Private Dick pick up the book after it had been lost?  It is rare to see dates of inscriptions line up ever so neatly though so we can almost pinpoint the exact date these two crossed paths. Either way, this book is a cool piece with only one inscription, but with two it’s even better!

New Testament measures 3 inches wide by 4.5 inches in height and is 316 pages in length. The book itself is in fragile condition with the front cover falling off and the binding beginning to break down. Pages remain intact but frequent handling will further deteriorate the condition of this item and special care should be used when handling this piece.

We cannot be certain when this book was published as there are pages missing at the front. The first numbered page is 19. We do know, however, the book was supplied by the Baltimore Bible Society, a charitable organization which supplied bibles to more than 9,000 soldiers during the Civil War.

This is a cool little tattered piece with some personal history attached. This would be a great addition to those collectors interested in either regiment or in prisoner of war items.   [cls][ph:L]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THIS ITEM, AS WITH ALL OTHER ITEMS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEB SITE,

MAY BE PURCHASED THROUGH OUR LAYAWAY PROGRAM.

CLICK HERE FOR OUR POLICIES AND TERMS.

THANK YOU!

Inquire »

Inquire About CIVIL WAR PERIOD NEW TESTAMENT SIGNED BY A REBEL OF THE 66th NC AND A YANKEE FROM THE 85th PA

should be empty

featured item

TIFFANY PRESENTATION SWORD TO WILLIAM S. MARBLE, 7th CONNECTICUT VOLS, WIA BERMUDA HUNDRED, IN COMMAND OF THE REGT. AT FT. FISHER

Tiffany & Company is acknowledged as the finest producer of presentation swords in the 1860s and this is good example of their work, showing detailed craftsmanship and refined taste. The deeply cast, chased, and engraved mounts along with the… (870-172). Learn More »

Upcoming Events

04
Jul

The shop will be closed from Wednesday, July 6th, through Sunday, July 10th; we will re-open at 11am… Learn More »

Instagram