Civil War Drum at State Museum of Pennsylvania

Sharing the Common Wealth showcases objects, artifacts, documents, structures and buildings from the collections of PHMC.

Augustus G. Kyle (1832–1914), a farmer living in West Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County, enlisted for duty in the American Civil War at nearby Newville on August 6, 1862, and was mustered into service eight days later in Harrisburg as a private with Company E, 130th Pennsylvania Infantry. He was promoted to principal musician as a drummer one week later. While stationed at Belle Plain, Virginia, Kyle became ill but remained with the regiment to be honorably discharged with his comrades in May 1863. On January 26, 1864, he enlisted in Philadelphia and three days later was mustered in as a musician with Company D, 187th Pennsylvania Regiment. Kyle and a detachment of the 187th led Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession in Philadelphia and served as honor guard while the president’s body lay in state in Independence Hall. He carved his and Lincoln’s initials, along with the regiment’s number, on a set of drumsticks. The drum and the drumsticks will be on view at The State Museum of Pennsylvania in an exhibit opening in April, Objects of Valor: Commemorating the Civil War in Pennsylvania. Kyle wrote an account of his service with this drum that he pasted inside the cylinder and is visible through a small ivory-edged aperture in the side, which is surrounded by inlaid decoration.