Tide Turns Case 5
A Soldier’s Violin
Civil War armies employed official musicians to issue orders and entertain the troops, but soldiers brought along their own instruments too. These took up valuable space in knapsacks and added weight on long marches, but they were cherished possessions and central features of camp life, as amateur and professional musicians provided vital entertainment over campfires.
This violin was such an instrument. Its owner, Christopher H. Kuhn of Cincinnati, made it himself a year before the war and brought it along when he enlisted in the 6th Ohio Infantry Regiment. His enlistment was cut short in June 1863, when he became ill at Corinth, Mississippi. Kuhn’s illness took its toll and limited his mobility for the rest of his life. Yet he was still able to make violins, which eventually became his full-time occupation.
Gift of Marian B. Johnson, 2006