We present here two little books intended
to be carried by Union soldiers in the Civil War. Both are small paperback
volumes, about 4.5" tall.
The first, Selections from the Book of Common Prayer,
consists of a shortened combined Morning and Evening Prayer service,
the Litany, a few prayers, the Collects associated with Holy Communion,
ante-Communion, Selections of Psalms from the BCP, some hymns, and
the burial service. It has no official sanction but was published in
1863 by The Margaret Coffin Prayer Book Society in Boston, an agency
long closely associated with the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
The second, the Soldier's Prayer Book, is
much shorter (58 pages vs. about 100), and consists of an abbreviated
form of Morning Prayer, several Collects and prayers (many of which
do not appear in the BCP), Selections of Psalms different from that
in the BCP, and a number of hymns. It was published in 1861 by the
Protestant Episcopal Book Society in Philadelphia, and was authorized
by the Bishop of Pennsylvania in much the same way as were BCP's of
the day. It is stated in the web author's copy that it was carried
by a Union soldier, one Wallace Gill of New York.
Neither of these volumes are listed in David Griffiths' Bibliography
of the Book of Common Prayer. There may have been other books similar
to these published, but we are not aware of them.
The University of North Carolina has placed online
two similar books used by Confederate soldiers: one printed
and one from the Diocese