A fascinating little Civil War artifact with ties to the chaplaincy, the American Revolution, the fall of Petersburg Virginia, Ann Arbor Michigan, and possibly the Christian Commission.
The book itself is the history of Rev. Michael Schlatter [1716-1790], and one of the most influential clergyman in New England up to and during the American Revolution.
After graduating from the University of Leyden, he volunteered himself as a missionary to the poor German population of Pennsylvania. After arriving in 1746, he served as the pastor of the German Reformed Churches at Germantown and Philadelphia. He organized the German Reformed church's first Synod, in 1747, and found his true calling as both a revivalist and administrator, embarking on extended missionary tours among the scattered German communities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and New York.
Before the American Revolution appeared eminent, he made what would prove to be a fateful decision; he accepted a position as Chaplain to the Royal American Regiment of the British Army in Philadelphia. He served with them at the Battle of Louisburg, then transferred to become Chaplain of the 2nd Pennsylvania where he was able to manage a side-mission to the Indians.
Everything went well until the hostilities in the Colonies. In 1776, he was still formally attached to the British Army. He had long been sympathetic to the American cause. Early in the War, when he was asked to move forward into battle against the American patriots at Germantown, he refused. He was severely persecuted and imprisoned as a traitor; his home and property plundered and destroyed by the British.
It is inscribed on the rear pastedown with the ownership information of "John Vallant [?] of 443 West Fifth Street, Ann Arbor, MI and dated to 1858. We will resist the authorial "Harbaugh" reference.
Then, most significantly, it is inscribed on the blank ffep, "April 3d, 1865. This book was captured from the Rebels on the 2d day of April 1865 just before entering the city of Petersburg VA. J. D. Turnbull [Trumbull]. Lt Co K. 20th Michigan Infantry."
Petersburg was the site of the longest Siege in American Military History, involving a direct face off for control of what was the Confederacy's primary hub of material distribution, etc. After over a year, on April 2, 1865, Grant's forces launched an all-out assault on, crippling Lee's army. This was the day that ended the war. One week later, Lee formally surrendered to Grant at the Appomattox Court House.
The book is an odd trophy in both directions. It originated in Ann Arbor via the inscription, so likely taken by a soldier. But it isn't a pocket-book. So what soldier would take this book? We would think likely a chaplain, as the story of Schlatter's chaplaincy during two wars would have direct reference. This would explain its presence on the battlefield. And, perhaps seeing the Michigan provenance, the 20th Infantry Lieutenant brought it back home to Michigan.
A wonderful little storied volume.
Harbaugh, H. The Life of Rev. Michael Schlatter; with a Full Account of His Travels and Labors among the Germans in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia; Including His Services as Chaplain in the French and Indian War, and in the War of the Revolution. 1716-1790. Philadelphia. Lindsay & Blakiston. 1857. First Edition.
Fair only, spine and front boar lacking, stained and handled. Textually complete and usable.