Monday, February 27, 2012

Military Monday - Philip Kuhn's Ohio Civil War records

It was my participation in the Family History Writing Challenge that led me to note that I did not have Philip Kuhn's civil war records. I had so much information on his time in the Civil War, because he was a prisoner of war, but I had never received his actual service record. I realized after a quick search that service records from the state of Ohio are not available on Fold3. (They have since posted an index of Ohio service records, a little late for my research, but helpful to someone else.) I decided to order the records for $25 from the NARA eServices webpage. I ordered the Compiled Military Service File (NATF 86).

I ordered it on January 30, 2012 and it arrived February 24, 2012. I already knew Philip Kuhn was in the 120th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and that he was a musician and later promoted to primary musician. I also knew that he was captured near the Red River in Louisiana and spent the last year of the war in the Camp Ford prisoner of war camp near Tyler, Texas. If I was hoping to learn more about Philip's service through his service records, I was going to be disappointed. There were only 22 pages of information and I learned that:
Philip was present and then he was absent. That was about the extent of the record keeping on poor Philip. He was made Chief Musician and was listed on the Field and Staff returns on March 1, 1863. Sadly, when he was captured he was reduced from Primary Musician to a private. I can understand that the slot needed to be filled, but reduction in rank also means reduction in pay. A fine tribute to a prisoner of war.
Remarks: "Transferred and reduced from Musician 120th OVI to private Co. G 114th OVI per SFO No. 27 19 AC Nov 27 '64."

Nevertheless, I am glad to have the records. Ordering records is always a gamble, as you'll never know how robust the file is. Now I'm a little leery to order his pension records...maybe I'll wait until those are available on Fold3!


Shelley Bishop said...

That's neat that Philip was Chief Musician, Heather. I had three ancestors in Ohio volunteer regiments, and the Compiled Service Records for all three gave only bare-bones information, like you found. But the pension files for all of them were lengthy and rich with details. So you might be pleasantly surprised if you decide to order the pension records. It's a lot of money, but I was glad I did it when I saw how much more I got from it. Anyway, good luck with your search for more about Philip!

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Shelley, thank you for your input. I am so glad to hear that my records were not the only ones light in content! I struggle with getting the pension records based only on the price. Not that I'm a penny pincher, but I'm not sure that I will learn enough from the file that I don't already know to justify the price. But to know that it was worth it in your instances is good news. Thank you!