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    [Confederate POW]. Presentation Copy of Jenkin's "Vest-Pocket Lexicon" and George Bickley Carte de Visite. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1862. Measuring a mere 2.25" x 3", but containing 563 pages. The book was presented to Dr. George Bickley from Confederate Major Thomas B. Webber, 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, General John H. Morgan's Division, and an inscription appears on the front flyleaf: "Ohio Penitentiary Dec 1 1863...Having two pocket dictionaries please allow me to present you this one which I trust will be acceptable and useful to you." Webber placed an earlier inscription on the previous page stating that he was held in solitary confinement and dated October 10, 1863. Webber had originally been captured and held at Camp Chase. While there he sent out a letter regarding the recruitment of black troops by the United States in which he said, "I hope all negroes captured in arms and their officers may be hung. I am willing to risk the consequences." The letter was read by a censor and forwarded up the chain of command resulting in Webber's transport to Ohio and solitary confinement. On the inside rear cover is a small drawing of what appears to be the inside of a prison cell.

    Dr. George Bickley (1819 [?]-1867) was a well-known, Virginia-born Copperhead and Northern Democrat who openly opposed the war and called for instant peace with the Southern rebels. He founded the Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret society that promoted the interests of the Southern states, and served for a short time in the Confederate army as a surgeon. He was arrested in July 1863 for spying in Indiana and incarcerated in the Ohio Penitentiary. One of the more famous residents at this time was General John Morgan (mentioned in the inscription above) who famously escaped from the prison with six of his officers, who dug a tunnel from one of their cells to the outer yard and then scaled the outer wall with a homemade rope. Rumors abound that they were assisted by Bickley, but this has never been confirmed. Morgan finally made it back to the South and was killed in the Federal raid on Greeneville, Tennessee, in September 1864.

    With a 2.5" x 4" carte de visite of George Bickley (identified twice on the verso), bearded and wearing a uniform, hat held in the right hand, standing next to a table, with an E. Anthony backstamp.


    More Information: Cryptic writing scattered throughout appear to be some form of shorthand, indicating that the book probably functioned as a prison codebook. The writing is found around the edges of the pages, in ink and pencil.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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