1845 JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Civil War Bible Owned by the Man who Accidently Helped Assassinate Lincoln!
1845 JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Civil War Bible Owned by the Man who Accidently Helped Assassinate Lincoln!
1845 JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Civil War Bible Owned by the Man who Accidently Helped Assassinate Lincoln!
1845 JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Civil War Bible Owned by the Man who Accidently Helped Assassinate Lincoln!
1845 JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Civil War Bible Owned by the Man who Accidently Helped Assassinate Lincoln!
1845 JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Civil War Bible Owned by the Man who Accidently Helped Assassinate Lincoln!

1845 JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Civil War Bible Owned by the Man who Accidently Helped Assassinate Lincoln!

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Wonderful piece of Americana; the original Civil War Bible used [quite heavily] by Major Henry L McConnell, Civil War soldier and, importantly, Provost Marshall General Department of Missouri. He'll be forever remembered as the man who had John Wilkes Booth in his possession and let him go, thus enabling him to further radicalize and, ultimately, assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. 

Born in Pennsylvania,1840, McConnell entered the Military Academy at West Point at 14 years of age. For some reason he did not graduate. There is note that he was furloughed early in 1857 in the rear of the Bible, then "resignation." Whatever the case, it must not have been a legal matter. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he immediately enlisted in good standing as an Officer in the Missouri militia. He advanced quickly and soon obtained the rank of Major and received the important post of Provost Marshall in St. Louis.

Late in December of 1862, he stepped into an historical moment. An actor was arrested in St. Louis while on a theatre tour and was brought to McConnell. The man had been heard openly, angrily threatening that he, "wished the President and the whole damned government would go to hell." Even once detained, he swore, "So help me holy God! My soul, life, and possessions are in the South!" McConnell charged him with making treasonous remarks against the Government. The man he had arrested was John Wilkes Booth.

In light of his wild rants and open threats against Lincoln and the Government, it came as a surprise when Wilkes Booth requested to see McConnell the next day and asked to be administered the Oath of Allegiance. If administered, it meant Wilkes Booth would go free. It must have been a moment; McConnell trying to assess Wilkes Booth, judge, evaluate, see through any ruse or obfuscation. In the end, the actor's skills were triumphant, and McConnell, perhaps still questioning, begrudgingly administered the Oath, had him pay his fine, and released him.

When McConnell was asked to give evidence as part of the trial of John Wilkes Booth, April 24, 1865, it must have felt like a heavy weight indeed, as if Wilkes Booth had walked out of St. Louis and made a straight march for the Ford Theatre, gun in hand. 

There is an entire section on him in The Lincoln Assassination: The Evidence by Edwards & Steers. 

The Holy Bible; Being the Old and New Testaments with Marginal Readings; and Illustrated by Original References, both Parallel and Explanatory, and a Copious Selection, Carefully Chosen, and Newly Enlarged. Hartford. S. Andrus & Son. 1845. 

Fair only with original binding overbound with buckskin binding [probably original to the Civil War period. There is an ink inscription, "To her affectionate son, Henry L. McConnell. "Get unto thyself wisdom. [Irony?]" on the front pastedown, accompanied by dates from 1857 with locations. The next three page are a manuscript copy, apparently in McConnell's hand, of "Let each man think himself an act of God" by British "spasmodic" poet, Philip James Bailey from the opening of Festus [1839]. The original frontis and title are absent, beginning with the preface to the Polyglott, which is detached. There are sporadic notes in ink and pencil by McConnell throughout the text; interesting, but not substantial in terms of content. One gathering pulled with weakness at gutter, one gathering lost. Final leaf of revelation worn, chipped, and grubby. All after absent. Rear pastedown contains dates from his time at West Point, Furlough, Resignation, Study of Law [not previously noted in any of the histories], and then his travels to Annapolis, Philadelphia, Washington, New York, and Boston.