Saturday, March 19, 2016

Faces of the Civil War: Connecticut musician Marcus Culver

Sylvia Culver holds a CDV of her great-grandfather, who served as musician in the Civil War.
As soon as I saw Sylvia Culver gingerly walk into my Civil War talk in Berlin, Conn., carrying a thick, yellow envelope, I had a feeling we would visit. And sure enough, shortly after my hour-long spiel about Connecticut Civil War soldiers concluded Saturday afternoon, the petite woman in the beige sweater quietly approached my table and pulled from the large envelope two family treasures: a war-time diary and a carte-de-visite of her great-grandfather, who served in the 5th Connecticut and General Edward Harland's Brigade Band.

I dared not open Culver's fragile diary -- its front cover was scuffed and worn. Thankfully, a genealogist had expertly made copies of all the pages in the tiny diary, which was slightly larger than the CDV. The image of Culver, taken in Connecticut before he marched off to war, showed the soldier seated and in military uniform. His long sideburns were impressive.

From Wallingford, Conn., Culver enlisted on June 21, 1861, and was mustered into the 5th Connecticut as a musician a little more than a month later. On Aug. 16, 1862, one week after the regiment saw brutal fighting at Cedar Mountain in Virginia, Culver was discharged for unknown reasons. Nearly two years later, he was mustered into Harland's Brigade Band and served through the end of the war.

Culver, who reared two boys and a girl with his wife Martha, was only 36 when he died in Wallingford in 1872.

(For more Faces of the Civil War on my blog, go here.)

Marcus Culver's wartime diary is slightly larger than a CDV of the Wallingford, Conn., soldier.

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