Captured Civil War New Testament

Collection ID



Bible - Printed Book




Oxford, (England)




Printed on Paper


2.8 × 4.6 × 1 in. (7.3 × 11.8 × 2.7 cm)

Exhibit Location

Not on View

During the Civil War, the Confederate Bible Society was established, with the intent to print Bibles in the South and organize importation of Bibles and New Testaments from the British and Foreign Bible Society in England. Ships carrying various goods and contraband, including Bibles, attempted to make it through the blockade to southern ports, but the North seized some, such as the ship carrying this New Testament. Placed on the Anglo-Rebel blockade runner Minna, this Bible was captured on December 6, 1863, near Wilmington, North Carolina, by the USS Circassian, captained by W. B. Eaton.

Printed in 1862 by the British and Foreign Bible Society, Oxford, England. Acquired by unknown source and shipped aboard the Minna to the Confederate States of America for distribution; Seized in 1863 by Union soldiers on the USS Circassian, under the command of Captain W. B. Eaton, near Wilmington, North Carolina.[1] Acquired by W. H. Piper & Co Booksellers, Boston, Massachusetts.[2] Acquired by Union Mission School, Lowell, Massachusetts;[3] Gifted in 1870 to Harry Stocks, Lowell, Massachusetts.[4] Acquired by Arthur Stocks.[5] Acquired by Jonathan Byrd’s Rare Books, Goodyear, Arizona;[6] Privately purchased in 2010 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2016 to National Christian Foundation (later The Signatry) under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] Bookplate on pastedown states that it was transported from England on the Anglo-Rebel blockade runner Minna that was captured on December 6, 1863, off of Wilmington, North Carolina, by the Union ship Circassian, captained by W. B. Eaton. [2] In a letter from December 12, 1863, Eaton states he ordered the Minna to proceed to Boston. It is unknown how W. H. Piper & Co Booksellers acquired the Bible. [3] Handwritten note on the rear endpapers states that this New Testament was presented to Harry Stocks on Christmas Day for learning the First Psalm. [4] Handwritten note below the presentation note is dated December 26, 1870, and signed “Harry Stocks.” [5] Name “Arthur Stocks” is written in a childlike style on the front pastedown and endpapers. A stamped “a Stocks.” also accompanies the handwritten name. [5] Jonathan Byrd’s bookplate is found in the custom-built book box.

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