The Book of Common Prayer
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    Soldiers’ Prayer Books from the Civil War


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.

Besides the HTML pages listed below, we also have both books available complete as PDF graphics files. There is uncorrected text "behind" the graphics. See below for links.

The University of North Carolina has placed online two similar books used by Confederate soldiers: one printed in Atlanta, and one from the Diocese of Virginia.


Book Cover

title page


Soldier's Prayer Book

title page, Soldier's Prayer Book

from the Book of Common Prayer

Morning and Evening Prayer
The Litany
    [as in the 1789 BCP, but only for the Sundays of the year; and only citations for the Bible readings are given.]
Holy Communion (Ten Commandments only)
Selections of Psalms [as in the 1789 BCP]

Burial of the Dead

Download the complete book as PDF graphics (3.5MB)

Soldier's Prayer Book

Public Service
Occasional Collects
Selections of Psalms

Download the complete book as PDF graphics (1.7 MB)

Web author: Charles Wohlers U. S. EnglandScotlandIrelandWalesCanadaWorld