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The Bible That Stopped a Bullet

Still Waters

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On New Year’s Day in 1863, Private Charles W. Merrill hunkered down in his tent near Falmouth, Virginia, doing what soldiers do when not on duty: waiting. Outside, the weather was pleasant though cold; the wind blew raw.

A soldier in the 19th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Merrill sat alone, pen in hand, writing to his brother. “Our fireplace is one of the greatest luxuries imaginable,” he said. “It is both company and comfort.” The Union regiment had not moved in three days, and the men had only three days of rations left. Merrill felt lonely, dreaming of home in West Newbury, Massachusetts, and wishing he could give each family member a “New Year’s present, even if it were a small one.”


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Some people will call it luck. Others will say divine intervention. Either way, he lived to tell his story. 

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