Here’s something a little different in our ongoing look at famous or otherwise-historical diary entries. When most people think of a diary they’re probably not likely to picture a “Greffuhle” violin! But Civil War soldier Solomon Conn used such a violin to chronicle his wartime experiences and travels with Company B of the 87th Indiana Volunteers in the 1860s.
Conn bought the violin in 1863 and re-purposed it into a diary. Enduring two years of war with the instrument, Conn inscribed a list of over 30 battles, skirmishes and visited locations into the wood on its back, left and right sides. Even more interesting – Conn couldn’t even play the instrument. He reportedly bought it for the unit.
The diary includes the following preamble before the list of battles:
Purchased at Nashville Tenn. May 1st 1863. Has been with [Company B], 87th [Indiana Volunteers] at the following named places
It’s undoubtedly one of the more unique war diaries in the Smithsonian’s collection!
Find out more about this unique artifact on the Smithsonian’s website here.
I play the violin. I know how delicate it is. Wow!
Thanks for sharing, Christi! In a couple hundred years perhaps it will be your violin holding the curiosity of art lovers and history buffs!
Where is body of text inscribed on the instrument? As it is now we cannot read the message. HELP.o
More information about this violin can be found on the Smithsonian’s website: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/the-civil-war-150-years-solomon-conns-violin-diary-126109058/. However, it doesn’t look like they offer a full transcription of the text, just an overview of what Conn wrote about.