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.


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