N.C Wyeth and His Amazing American History Illustrations
This week in the Civil War for July 21, 1863

Incredible Bullet Struck Bible from Sailors Creek

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Photo from Heritage Auctions

Nothing is more dramatic or has more appeal than a Civil War artifact that has been "touched by fire." This superb pocket bible represents the very best of such objects.

The book was in the pocket of Pvt. Edwin C. Hall of the 10th Vermont Vol. Inf. when it was struck by a Confederate "minnie ball" at the battle of Sailor's Creek on April 6, 1865, certainly preventing Hall's death. The testament clearly shows the impact of the bullet which is still solidly imbedded in it. Measuring about 3" by 4" this "Book of Common Prayer" was printed in 1850 and is typical of those carried by tens of thousands of soldiers. Inside the front cover can be seen the ink inscription "Edwin Hall/1860."

The bullet strike bent and dislodged the cover and over the years the back cover has become loose as well, but the book is essentially complete and the end of the projectile, now a light, dusty gray, is easily seen through the jagged hole that it made. The object is accompanied by the August 13, 1897 Boston Weekly newspaper in which it was wrapped more than a century ago.

Also with the bible is a wonderful letter from Pvt. Hall dated April 1, 1898 forwarding the book to a Cincinnati gentleman which reads in part "This prayer-book saved my life by stopping/a musket ball at Sailor's Creek. I hope/ you may use it in your museum. I have always put my trust in the Lord, and/he has done work always come through/for me...Edwin Hall late 5th Vermont Inf." Hall began his service in the 5th Vermont, then enlisted in Co. C of the 15th Vermont, seeing service at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Discharged in August, 1863 Hall enlisted four months later in Co. G of the 10th Vermont and was wounded at both Cold Harbor and Petersburg. He recovered from his wounds, and the near-miss at Sailor's Creek, and died at a Bennington, Vermont Soldiers' Home in 1913 at the age of 68. 

From: Heritage Auctions

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