I enjoy reading history and I'm curious about the scope of the mandolin during the middle 19th century, specifically during the civil war.
I read the book "Cold Mountain" awhile back and recently saw the movie again. Part of the story is of a group of rebel soldiers who desert and seek refuge with the daughter of one of them in the Blue Ridge Mountains. #They play music and one plays a mandolin. #I understood that the book, written by Charles Frazier, and also the movie are exceedingly true to the period.
On the other hand, I had the opportunity to visit Gettysburg national battlefield and museum recently. The museum has a good exhibit about music as part of a soldier's life: camp music, military bands and drums but no mention of mandolins. In addition, the CDs available by various groups/individuals performing music of that era do not use mandolins.
Anyone have any info?
I would conjure that mandolins during that period were made in Europe and were brought over by immigrants. I would say that the number of mandolins in the United States at that time would be low, would be found primary in northern cities and originally played by the immigrants themselves and that therefore mandolins would more likely be found being played in the Union armies than among the Confederate forces. Instruments "migrated" south as the main theatre of war took place in the southern states. #
Can anyone recommend books dealing with the history and rise of the mandolin in US music?