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Rare 1863 Confederate Prayer Book

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Two Civil War Views of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond

Rare 1863 Confederate Prayer Book - During the Civil War, the Episcopal Church, in the Confederate States, was temporarily separated from the rest of the Episcopal Church. There were three complete printings of a Confederate Prayer Book, to compensate for this separation; all printings were done in London. None of these books were ever formally authorized. Copies of the prayer books had to be smuggled into the South; only one of the printings actually made it through the blockade, the other two printings were either captured or destroyed. Surviving copies of the Confederate Book of Prayer are exceedingly rare; interestingly, they were completely identical to the 1789 Book of Common Prayer, with the exception of the necessary changes in prayers for the President and Congress. Additionally, a number of partial Books of Common Prayer were printed in the South. At the end of the Civil War, Dioceses in the South again became part of the Episcopal Church, and resumed using the 1789 Book of Common Prayer. The University of North Carolina has placed online a number of texts connected with the Episcopal Church in the Confederate States.

When South Carolina seceded from the Union in 1860, she was followed by ten more southern states. In 1861, the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the Confederate States of America, was established; it resembled, in every way, the same as before the war, with the exception of its name change and its loyalty to the Confederacy. Northern Episcopal churches declined to recognize any separation. Seven months after the fall of Richmond, in 1865, the Confederate group quietly disbanded.

This copy of the Confederate Prayer Book for the Episcopal Church was printed in London, in 1863. Boldly imprinted on the title page is the descriptor: “For the Use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America.” It is in fair condition, well worn, but completely intact. There are some loose pages, but all are present. Inside the front board is a war-time, clipped, North Carolina bond coupon; on the interior of the back board is pasted a small print of Gen. R.E. Lee, with a tribute written by Confederate Gen. John B. Gordon. There are numerous newspaper clippings attached to the back pages of the book, as well. All of the latter appear to be from just after the war. These books are very rare indeed. This copy had been in the collection of the former Rector of Richmond’s Emmanuel Episcopal Church (started in 1859), Frederick Goodwin. When we obtained the prayer book we also obtained a pew that had been one of the original pews in the Emmanuel Church, when it was used as a field hospital and campsite during the Civil War; it also had been in Mr. Goodwin’s collection and is offered on our site, as well. Emmanuel Episcopal Church is still standing and in use. SOLD

 

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