Confederate Moravian's Pre-War Sketchbook
by Alexander Meinung (1823 - 1908) of Salem, North Carolina. The book, oblong octavo (5 x 9 in.), has paper wrapped boards and contains (35) full page pencil sketches - some tinted - taken from life during travels in 1858, 1859 and 1860. The drawings make for a meaningful documentary as many are inscribed with dates, locations and subjects. The artist captured scenes in Western North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, New York and Canada. Most recognizable to the general public are his Niagara Falls vistas.
The inside cover is inscribed "A. Minung" and is dated May, 1859 with a Philadelphia address. This was merely contact information noted during the course of a northward journey. Meinung's family had actually been Moravian citizens of Salem, NC since 1771. During the Civil War Alexander Meinung answered his state's call, serving as a tenor horn player (and medic) with the 26th North Carolina Infantry Regimental Band, CSA. This organization, composed exclusively of Moravians, remains perhaps the most famous of Confederate musical organizations. Meinung did not allow his artistic talent to atrophy during the war and made drawings of his regiment's camp activities, many of which are archived today.