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Chapter 5: Bible and colportage work.

The world's history has never presented a wider field of usefulness to the humble colporter who tries to do his duty than the camps and hospitals of the Confederate armies, and rarely have Christian workers more fully improved their golden opportunities.

When the war broke out, nearly all of the great publishing houses were located at the North, our people generally did their Bible and tract work in connection with societies whose headquarters were in Northern cities, and our facilities for publishing were very scant. The great societies at the North generally declared Bibles and Testaments ‘contraband of war,’ and we had at once to face the problem of securing supplies through the blockade, or manufacturing them with our poor facilities.

The first Confederate Bible printed, so far as I can ascertain, was from the presses of the South-western Publishing House, at Nashville, 1861. A copy of this edition was sent to President Davis, who replied: ‘The Bible is a beautiful specimen of Southern workmanship, and if I live to be inaugurated the first President of the Confederacy, on the 22d of February, my lips shall press the sacred volume which your kindness has bestowed upon me.’

The British and Foreign Bible Society gave to the Confederate Bible Society unlimited credit in the purchase of supplies, and made liberal donations of Bibles and Testaments for our soldiers, as the following statement of Dr. Bennett will show:

Finding that for the main supply they must rely on importations from abroad, the Confederate Bible Society directed its corresponding secretary, Rev. Dr. E. H. Myers, to communicate with the British and Foreign Bible Society, with the view of securing such occasional supplies as might be lucky enough to escape the dangers of the blockade and reach our ports.

Dr. Myers, after detailing the operations of the society, said:

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