This picture of Christian Kuhl is preserved by the Library of Congress. The picture was located by a total stranger who saw the name in reverse on the glass plate and searched for Christian on the Internet. He found where I had published Christian’s Civil War memoirs written in 1911, he e-mailed a link to the image. My second cousin, Lila Powers, who is also a great grandchild of Christian, observed that this century-old image is so clear that you can see the individual hairs on Christian’s wrist. Readers are encouraged to pull up the original photo.
Christian was wearing this jacket on March 25, 1865 during the Battle of Petersburg when he was shot and captured. According to records preserved by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the US Army surgeon who treated Christian stated that Christian’s wounds consisted of “a mini ball entering at the head of the humorous and exiting near the first dorsal – a severe flesh wound”. Christian was taken to City Point, VA (now Hopewell) then placed aboard the hospital steamer the State of Maine for a trip down the James River and then up the Potomac River to Washington, D.C. where he was treated at Lincoln Army Hospital. He signed the Oath of Allegiance on June 10 and was released on June 14, 1865. The siege of Petersburg had degraded to trench warfare.
A description of Christian’s wounds is also published in the regimental history series for the 31rst Virginia Infantry Regiment CSA. These books were published in Lynchburg, VA. A copy is available in the Biloxi, MS library.
Christian told his grandchildren about his wounds and wanted them to be sure that they understood that he was shot while he was charging and that he was not shot in the back while running away.
According to his family Bible and family tradition, Christian was born October 19, 1839 in Baltimore, MD a few weeks after his family arrived from Prussia (now Germany).
There is some question about when the family arrived and from where with different information being stated by different researchers.
After the war, Christian was licensed to preach and was ordained in the Methodist Church. He also farmed and sold books to earn a living. He and his wife Emsey (Heater) Kuhl had six children, five of whom lived to adulthood and three of whom have living descendants.
According to the family Bible, Christian died October 25, 1918 at age 79, in Burnsville, WV from the Spanish flu. He and his wife Emsey (Heater) Kuhl are buried in the K of P Cemetery in Burnsville.
One grandson was killed in WW II. A grandson of his brother Conrad and a son of his half-brother George were also killed in WW II. Their names are all immortalized on the Veterans Memorial in Charleston, WV.
Christian’s CSA jacket was donated to Beauvoir, a CSA museum in Biloxi, MS and the last home of Christian Kuhl’s old commander in chief, Jefferson Davis. Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina did extensive damage to Beauvoir and the jacket has not been located. After Katrina, 2500 artifacts were taken to Jackson, MS for preservation. However, the jacket is still missing.
If you have questions about the Kuhl family, contact me:
Dave Kuhl210 Glen Eagles Drive
Ocean Springs, MS 39564-9041