Id’d Civil War Soldier’s Fiddle in Original Case


Id’d Civil War Soldier’s Fiddle in Original Case – This mid-19th century fiddle is housed in its original wood case. The case is lined with coarse, red, Kersey wool, which exhibits insect damage. Originally, quilting lined the interior of part of the case, covered by the wool lining; some of the original quilting remains intact. Structurally, the case, which retains its original, greenish black paint, is in strong condition and has its original brass, carrying handle and closure hook. The fiddle is in overall good condition; it has a white pine bridge, with hand carved tuning pegs; the neck ends in a nice, hand carved scroll. What appears to be original wire “strings” remain, ending at the hand carved tailpiece, which, in turn, ends with a small bone bridge. This instrument was hand crafted during the Civil War period, although no maker’s name appears in the F-holes. Painted, in a thick, crusty black paint, on the red wool lining the interior lid of the case is: “T.W. Church. 1864.” Timothy W. Church enlisted into Co. I, 23rd Illinois Infantry, in 1861. This is a great Id’d Civil War fiddle.


Timothy W. Church


Residence Chicago IL;  Enlisted as a Private (date unknown).  On 6/15/1861 he mustered into “I” Co. IL 23rd Infantry  (date and method of discharge not given)

23rd IL Infantry
( 3-years )

Organized: Chicago, IL on 6/15/61
Mustered Out: 7/24/65 at Richmond, VAOfficers Killed or Mortally Wounded: 4
Officers Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 2
Enlisted Men Killed or Mortally Wounded: 50
Enlisted Men Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 93
(Source: Fox, Regimental Losses)









Jun ’62 Jul ’62 Railroad Dist Mountain Department
Jul ’62 Sep ’62 Railroad Dist 8 Middle Department
Sep ’62 Jan ’63 Railroad District, WV Army and Dept of Ohio
Jan ’63 Mar ’63 New Creek, VA Defenses Upper Potomac 8 Middle Department
Mar ’63 Jun ’63 5 1 8 Middle Department
Jun ’63 Dec ’63 Mulligan’s Separate Department of West Virginia
Dec ’63 Apr ’64 2 2 Department of West Virginia
Apr ’64 Jun ’64 Harper’s Ferry: West SH Reserve Department of West Virginia
Jul ’64 Jul ’64 1 3rd Infantry Department of West Virginia
Jul ’64 Dec ’64 3 1st Infantry Department of West Virginia
Dec ’64 Jun ’65 2 Indpt 24 Army of the James
Jun ’65 Jul ’65 1 Indpt 24 Army of the James Mustered Out



(Three Years)

      The organization of the Twenty-third Infantry Illinois  Volunteers commenced under the popular name of the “Irish  Brigade,” at Chicago, immediately upon the opening of hostilities at Sumter.  It served until the war had fully  closed, and among the officers whom it was compelled to mourn  as lost in the battle was its illustrious Colonel, James A.  Mulligan, of Chicago, who fell while commanding a division of  the Army of West Virginia at Kernstown, in Shenandoah valley,  July 24,1864, and perished while in the hands of the enemy,  July 26, of three desperate wounds, received while at the head of his own Regiment to which he had galloped in the  confident and justified expectation that he would be able to  make it the steady rear-guard of an overwhelming rout, caused  by the advance of all of Early’s army upon an unsupported and  merger force.            The formal muster of the 23rd  was made June 15,1861, at  Chicago when the Regiment was occupying barracks known as  Kane’s brewery on West Polk street, near the river. From a  barrack encampment on Vincennes road it moved July 14, 1861,  to Quincy, Illinois, and thence, after a few days encampment,  to the arsenal at St. Louis.  On the 21st  of July it moved to  various excursion into the surrounding country.  Brigadier  General Grant superseded Colonel Davis as commander of the  post at Jefferson City, and on the 18th of September the 23d  commenced a march of 120 miles on Lexington, Mo., where the  first notable siege of the war of the Rebellion occurred.  Lexington, reinforced by the 23d, which arrived on the  evening of the 11th , became a post of 2,780 men, Colonel  Mulligan commanding.  General Price with the Missouri State  guards was marching upon the town, a convenient location near  which Colonel Mulligan’s command engaged actively in fortifying.  The rebel advance under Rain’s with a battery of  six guns assaulted the fortifications on the 12th but were  repulsed.  The post was then regularly invested by an army of  28,000 men with 13 pieces of artillery.  For nine days the  garrison sustained an unequal conflict, not alone against the  vastly superior forces of the enemy tent against hunger and  thirst, for provisions, hastily gathered in from the  surrounding country, were inadequate and the water supply  wholly failed. No reinforcement appeared, nor was there  promise or hope of any.  On the 20th the most determined and  systematic of the enemy’s assault was made, and repeatedly  repulsed, tent in the afternoon it was determined to  surrender.  The killed and wounded of the Regiment numbered  107, while General Price officially reported his loss at 800.            The officers and men, with the exception of Colonel  Mulligan, who was detained as a prisoner and accompanied  Price in his march into Arkansas, were paroled.  On the 8th  of October the Regiment was mustered out by order of General  Fremont, but upon the personal application of Colonel  Mulligan, who had been exchanged for General Frost, General  McClellan, then commanding the army, directed that its  organization be retained and that it should be considered as  continuously in the service from the date of its original  muster.  Reassembling at Camp Douglas in Chicago, the camp  being commanded by Colonel Mulligan, it guarded the rebel  prisoners there until June 14, 1862, when it was ordered to  Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.  Its service thence forward was in  both Virginias.  From Harper’s Ferry it moved to New Creek  Virginia.  It was at Clarksburg, Virginia, in September and  later at Parkersburg, in both cases saving the towns from the  menace of lmboden.  November 10, 1862, companies B, D and K  under Major Moore attacked General Imboden on the South Fork  of the Potomac, capturing forty prisoners and large supplies  on the hoof.  January 3, 1863, the Regiment made a forced  march of 40 miles in 10 hours from New Creek to Morefield to  the relief of the Union force there attacked by General  Jones, who thereupon withdrew.  In April, 1863, being then at  New Creek, the Regiment was assigned to the 5th Brigade, 1st  Division, 8th Corps, Colonel Mulligan commanding the Brigade  and Lieutenant Colonel Quirk the Regiment.  The Regiment  moved to Grafton on the 25th of April, and Captain Martin  Wallace, commanding Co. G, as a detachment in Greenland Gap,  occupying a block house, had a spirited engagement with General Jones and did not surrender until the block house was  in flames.  April 25th the Regiment was engaged with Imboden  at Phillippi.  In 1863 the Regiment was on the flank of Lee  in his retreat from Gettysburg, and had an engagement with  Wade Hampton at Hedgeville.  Having re-enlisted as veterans  at New Creek in April.  1864, the Regiment was reorganized at  Chicago and the month’s furlough having expired returned to  Virginia.            Daring the month of July, 1864, the Regiment participated  in the following engagements: 3d, Leetown, 5th to 7th,  Maryland Heights, Md.; 17th to 20th, Snicker’s Gap, Va.; 23d  and 24th, Kernstown, Va., where Colonel Mulligan was killed.   In the battle of Kernstown on the 24th, the Regiment lost in  killed and wounded about one-half of those engaged therein.            From early in August, 1864, to December 25 1864, during  which time General Sheridan was in command of the Shenandoah  Valley, the Regiment was actively engaged therein, and took  part in the following battles and skirmishes: Cedar Creek,  August 12th to 16th, Winchester, August 17th Charlestown and  Halltown, August 21st to 28th; Berryville September 3d  Opequan Creek, September 19th; Fisher’s Hill, September 21st  and 22nd Harrisonburg, October–; Cedar Creek, October 13th;  Cedar Creek, October 19th. About December 30th, 1864, the  Regiment was transferred to       Army of the James, and during January, 1865, was in  front of Richmond, and was afterwards assigned to the  defenses of Bermuda :Hundreds.  March 25, 1865, rejoined  Twenty-fourth Army Corps north of the James River, and thence  moved to the left as far as Hatcher’s Run, where was encaged  March 31st and April 1st, and on April 2nd assisted in the  assault and capture of Fort Gregg in front of Petersburg, and  thereafter took part in the pursuit of Lee’s Army until the  surrender thereof at Appomattox C. H., April 9, 1865.            In the months of January and February 1864, while  stationed at Greenland Gap, W. Va., First Lieutenant John J.  Healy, as special recruiting officer, re-enlisted about 300  of the Regiment as veterans, and in May following they came  to Chicago on thirty days’ furlough, as the Twenty-third  Regiment Illinois Veteran Volunteers.            In August, 1864, the 10 companies of the Regiment, then  numbering 440, were consolidated into five companies, and was  designated “Battalion Twenty-third Regiment Illinois Veteran  Volunteer Infantry,” and Lieutenant Colonel Simison assigned  to command.  in March, 1865, Colonel Simison returned to  Illinois, leaving Captain P. M. Ryan in command, to have five  new companies assigned by the Governor to fill the Regiment,  and in this he was successful, but the new companies did not  meet the Veterans until the surrender of Lee.       The Regiment was thanked by Congress for its part at Lexington, and was authorized to inscribe Lexington upon its  colors.  Two medals, authorized by Congress, were given  members of the command for gallant conduct.  They were  bestowed upon Private Creed, Company C who, at the battle of  Fisher’s Hill, knocked down a rebel color-bearer and captured  his flag, and Private Patrick Hyland, Company D, who was the  first soldier to scale the rebel works at Ft. Gregg,  Petersburg, April 2, 1865.



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