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Food for Body and Soul in the 142nd New York
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Pocket bible, prayer book and piece of hardtack kept by Watson Barber, Co. F 142nd New York. Barber enlisted at age 18 on 8/29/62 at Bangor, NY, and mustered into Co. F 9/29/62 as a private. He served to the end of the war and mustered out 6/7/65 at Raleigh, NC. The 142nd served in a number of different army corps: 22, 7, 4, and 11, but saw most of its active service with the 10th, 18th and 24th as part of the Army of the James and the Department of North Carolina. CW data lists 63 data points when they took casualties of some sort and they suffered 3 officers and 126 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded during these fights, which were almost continual throughout 1864 and early 1865 including actions at Drewry's Bluff, Bermuda Hundred, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. I will supply the basic service record for Barber and list of these actions.

The bible is a pocket bible, brown cloth bound, that has seen hard service. One cover is missing and the other detached. The text block is okay, though only a fragment of the title page is there. Barber did, however, use his stencil to mark the inside of the cover and the back page.

The hymn book is one of those published by the New York Young Men's Christian Association , 64 pages long with pasteboard covers, and handed out to soldiers heading to the front. Barber obviously carried this one a lot also. The covers are worn and he restitched the book with thread through the covers to keep it together. He made a couple of marks in the book, both next to poems or hymns about death. He also used his stencil on this book, marking the last page and the inside of the back cover.

If the two books were food for the soul, Barber also preserved food for the body. He kept a piece of army hardtack. 3 inches square. Very good condition. One small chip was broken off over the years, but kept with it.

I find Barber listed in some sources as Rufus Watson Barber, but he seems clearly to have signed in under his middle name. His repeated use of his stencil is pretty common. Having spent extra money on it, soldiers were usually determined to use it as much as possible.

Shipping $12.95. NY addresses add sales tax. Thanks1