More Than A Drummer Boy's War: A Historical View of Musicians in the American Civil War

October 1, 2002


Although making music and making war may seem incompatible, the two endeavors have been inextricably linked throughout recorded history. There is, perhaps, no better example of this powerful pairing than the American Civil War, often called America's "great musical war" or "the great singing war."1 This well-deserved reputation acknowledges the creation of as many as 10,000 popular songs that can be related to the struggle.2 According to Bernard, "More of the music of this era has endured than from any other period of our history."3 The staggering number of memorable songs as well as the enduring popularity of many have attracted the interest of numerous commentators. And yet this phenomenon represents only a part of the musical legacy of this unprecedented domestic tragedy—the civilian response.

The participation and activities of thousands of military musicians, representing both the Union and the Confederacy, have gone under-appreciated and under-reported. Their many contributions to the war effort between 1861 and 1865 are often marginalized or overlooked entirely in both historical and musicological literature.4 Not surprisingly, scholars of the Civil War in general have tended to disregard the subject altogether as trivial. In surveys of music in the United States, the lively popular song culture of the era—with its evergreen favorites of "Dixie" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"—is typically emphasized. Authors addressing the history of band music have a greater stake in the subject, of course, and provide more information, but even recent contributions to this body of scholarship include only brief references to wartime brass bands. The most detailed studies have appeared in response to the Civil War Centennial commemorations of the 1960s and later as part of a growing attempt to document the development of the wind band movement in America. Most authoritative are the published memoirs of soldiers from both armies with first-hand accounts of camp life and the battlefield and earwitness descriptions of musical performances.

Drummers, buglers, and fifers, nonetheless, regulated every event in camp and served as major agents of communication on the battlefield. Wind bands, in fact, provided humane diversion, boosted morale, and incited a patriotic spirit in soldiers and civilians alike. These activities alone merit consideration even if no different from any other armed conflict. The fact that the music performed did not bear the stamp of originality, but instead one of tradition and obvious derivation, surely accounts for scholarly neglect. Yet this particular episode in American music sociology acquires real significance when one understands that for musical practices—like so many other aspects of American life—the Civil War cast a long shadow over later developments. The wartime years provided a context for instrumental music-making on the grand scale and with concentrated purpose. This flurry of activity should be appreciated as a prelude to "the golden age of bands" between 1865 and the 1920s and as scaffolding for the eventual acceptance of marching and concert bands in American public schools. In addition, the War served as a catalyst for music business interests; instrument makers embraced mass production to meet the unprecedented demand for their products by military musicians in the service of rival governments.

Because no single, comprehensive study on this topic exists, relevant information must be gleaned from the vast literature addressing the War between the States. The first part of this essay is devoted to a description of the musical forces operating during the War and an enumeration of the duties borne by military musicians. The second part sheds light on the nature of the musical experiences of these men—much of it taken from anecdotal passages in diaries and memoirs. Although there are some differences between the two armies, common purpose and comparable experience allow the subject to be approached in a unified manner.


Regimental Band Period

"I don't believe we can have an army without music."
General Robert E. Lee (1864)5

The early months of the War were possibly the most musical. This period, from May 1861 to August 1862, is commonly referred to as the Regimental Band Period. The United States government allotted each volunteer regiment a brass band.6 Each Union band was authorized to enlist twenty-four musicians although the actual numbers varied greatly.7 Confederate bands tended to be much smaller because of a lack of manpower, instruments, and music. Scholars fail to agree on the total number of musical participants. Felts approximated the numbers at 3,000 bands and 60,000 musicians,8 while Olson believed that "vacancies existed for a total of 104,234 musicians during the course of the war."9 Although the exact total of Union and Confederate musicians cannot be known, it has been estimated that one in forty soldiers was a musician.10 Discrepancies arise because of confusion of names and poor record keeping. Many bandsmen joined a different regiment once their initial service was over; some enlisted repeatedly in the same regiment. Regardless of the actual amount, it is clear that there was an astonishing number of musicians employed. There are accounts of musicians present at every major battle of the entire campaign.11

Musicians enjoyed no more privileges than the common soldier. Initially, the rank of "musician" in Northern armies was comparable to that of private and was viewed negatively by many. In the South, musicians were generally assigned a somewhat more valuable status and were paid twelve dollars a month, one dollar more than a private.12 Despite this, members of town bands of all types and abilities flocked to recruiting offices. Many prominent bandleaders, including Patrick Gilmore of Boston and Harvey Dodworth and C. S. Grafulla of New York, enlisted with their entire ensemble in the same company. Although the status of individual musicians may have been viewed negatively, the mere presence of a military band was not only an aid in the recruitment of infantry but also affected the popularity of the unit. The United States Marine Band greeted the new recruits arriving in Washington, D.C., and helped inspire and acclimate them to military life.13

Generals often recognized the band as a valuable asset to their unit. In one regiment, a set of brass instruments was purchased, with the stipulation that anyone who learned to play them would be relieved of fatigue duty.14 General David Bell Birney, of the Army of the Potomac, instructed his band to play on a street corner while the entire division paraded through a town to impress the citizens.15 Some of the most important military leaders—Generals Robert E. Lee, Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, George G. Mead, and Philip Sheridan—all took the time to express their appreciation for service rendered by the bands in their units.16

The quality of the band obviously affected how the members of the regiment perceived it. Bands of poor ability suffered from a large number of non-musicians who infiltrated the ensembles, inaccurately viewing them as a safe haven on the battlefield. In addition, for many musicians, learning to march and play at the same time proved difficult, and the quality of the music making suffered accordingly. Most of the bands, however, were well received and genuinely appreciated by the men as a source of pride for their regiments.


Brigade Band Period

As the second year passed, the increasing financial burden caused many politicians to view the bands as an unnecessary luxury. When the War broke out in 1861, most individuals—notably politicians—believed the conflict would only last ninety days. As a result, financial matters were not considered a priority at the onset of the hostilities. In the South, the continuing depletion of men from an already smaller army necessitated that the musicians be consolidated into smaller units and be required to carry weapons.17 In July of 1862 Congress passed General Order No. 91, which reduced the number of bands to one per brigade; thus the remainder of the War is known to music historians as the Brigade Band Period.

Not everyone agreed that the bands were expendable. The Union Secretary of the Sanitary Commission, Fredrick L. Olmstead, believed that they "please and interest the great majority of the soldiers" and "the men are almost universally proud of their band."18 A chaplain in a Massachusetts regiment protested the cutbacks complaining, "Those who advocate this cannot have an idea of their value among soldiers. I do not know anything particular of the science or practice of music . . . but I see the effects of a good band."19

Although the cutbacks saved the War Department an estimated five million dollars annually, bands continued to thrive for the remaining three years of the War. 20 Although most brigade band members were paid less after the consolidation, some enjoyed bonuses or found other means of support. Regimental officers provided financial assistance, and civilians were known to subsidize the bands representing their particular city.21 When the band of the old Third New Hampshire Regiment, known as the Port Royal Band, suffered a reduction in pay from the early years, the officers at their old post were so delighted to have them back that "their brigade pay was augmented out of Post funds."22 Some band members re-enlisted in the infantry, fighting during the battles and playing the rest of the time; while some regiments formed unauthorized bands.23 A few regiments hired the local town band. The 13th Connecticut Infantry stationed in New Orleans even hired professional Confederate musicians for a time.24

An unexpected benefit of the reduction in number of bands was an improvement in the overall quality of performance. In October of 1862, Congress passed a bill setting higher standards for regimental musicians and members of brigade bands. This resulted in the selection and employment of more qualified musicians and bandleaders. Furthermore, the best of the regimental musicians were usually transferred to the brigade ensemble.


Civil War Musical Ensembles and Their Responsibilities

There were actually three types of military musical groups common during the Civil War: field musicians, drum corps, and brass bands. Every company had at least two musicians, a drummer and either a fife or a bugle player. Such field musicians, as they were called, were combined into a larger unit, or drum corps, containing approximately twenty members. These groups were instrumental in the daily routine of military camp life.

It is estimated that there were 40,000 field musicians in the drum corps.25 Most were under the legal minimum age of eighteen. In fact, boys made up the largest group of soldiers in both armies. Many of these youngsters dropped their drum or fife and picked up the weapon of a fallen comrade in the heat of a battle. During later battles, generals often counted on the boys as much as the men, especially when troops were scarce.26 Young boys became immortalized in many stories and songs, as the Civil War became nicknamed "the drummer boy's war."27

The main responsibility of the fife and drum or bugle and drum corps was communication. Drummer boys were responsible for the order of the camps: calling units to formations and regulating meals and other daily events. Musicians learned approximately eighteen different signals.28 The first was reveille for the drum corps and was played by the head bugler; a few minutes later, the entire drum corps sounded reveille for the infantry. Next came "Peas on a Trencher" for breakfast; then sick call; fatigue, which was the indicator to "tidy up camp"; drill; and various other daily activities. The final call was named retreat, today more commonly known as "taps." Soldiers lived every day to music. A drummer was also required to stand guard duty every night. In large companies this job was spread out among the boys, but in smaller regiments only a handful of drummers were available. William Bircher, age 15, recalled being on guard duty every other night.29

The larger units, such as regiments and brigades, also employed a brass band in addition to their field musicians. The brass band of this era was made up of an eclectic array of instruments. Due to the lack of standardization, there were over forty different types of brass instruments available; many were the same instruments with different names. A typical balanced instrumentation of a Union band consisted of cornets (or sopranos) and alto, tenor, and bass horns, along with side and bass drums. Many used the over-the-shoulder type of saxhorns, generally known as OTS, and some used keyed bugles.30 Woodwind instruments, barring the fife, seem to have been used only by permanent performing bands, e.g., the United States Marine Band and Patrick Gilmore's band.31 Most, however, did not exhibit a balanced instrumentation, and band size ranged from eight to thirty members. There was no comparable specification in the Confederacy; almost any combination of instruments was acceptable, including fiddles and banjos.

The functions of the brass band included more ceremonial and concert performances, but the ensemble remained a vital asset to daily military activities. Music was needed for morning guard mount, general inspections, brigade drills, Sunday services, serenades of high officers, and evening dress parades. The dress parades, the day's culminating activity in camp, were occasions for official military business, such as court-martials. Such events were also opportunities for showing off the troops and for impressing high-ranking civilians and visitors. Bands played by necessity at far too many funeral ceremonies. The schedule was even more demanding if the band were the only one in a brigade, as was the case for the Twenty-Sixth North Carolina.32 Despite their grueling schedule, regimental bands often played for regiments without bands. The United States Marine Band, established in 1798, provided music for presidential ceremonies and gave many morale-boosting concerts in Washington. President Lincoln, a great supporter of the military bands, was particularly fond of the Marine Band, which he called upon many times over the course of the War. In 1862 an Act of Congress gave the Marine Band full status because of "its role during the early years of the War."33

Musical selections played by both Southern and Northern armies incorporated standard marches and other martial music and arrangements of popular songs. Wartime songs played an important part in sustaining and restoring morale throughout the entire campaign. These songs, such as "Home Sweet Home," "Listen to the Mocking Bird," "John Brown's Body," and "Battle Cry of Freedom," were easily adapted for band. Many musicians could not read music and played these popular songs by ear. Patrick Gilmore instructed his men to learn by rote the tunes that he heard the men singing in camp. This enabled instrumentalists to stay current with the constant influx of new songs.34 Other sources of repertoire for more advanced units were arrangements of Italian and German opera overtures. Excerpts by Rossini, Verdi, and Wagner were among the most popular. The more formal concerts even featured arias performed by guest singers, such as Jenny Lind. The years of the War also produced an unprecedented amount of newly published music, both instrumental and vocal.35 As part of this trend, many popular songs were arranged or adapted for the bands and shared by both sides. There was no "Union" or "Confederacy" to the music publishers; Northern publishers even supplied music to the Confederates through the blockade.36

In addition to the long hours of musical responsibilities, band members bore many other duties. If they were not directly involved in the fighting, and many were, they were invaluable in guarding equipment and prisoners. Many times they assisted in cooking, for both the troops and the wounded. They were also employed as physical laborerssetting up field hospitals, collecting wood, and digging trenches; most were assigned to the medical staff, either as an assistant, a stretcher-bearer, or an orderly. Usually the bandsmen were "entailed in the grim task of caring for the wounded."37 General William Babcock Hazen wrote in 1864 that "the removal of wounded from the firing line was much more promptly and efficiently performed by the musicians than the 'ambulance corps.'"38 The task of nursing the men was daunting. The medical knowledge at the time was not able to keep up with the advancement in weapon technology, resulting in mass casualties. After the battle of Gettysburg in 1863, 727 members from a regiment of 800 needed medical attention, further demonstrating the importance of the bandsmen to the medical staff.39 Some musicians became so adept at practicing medicine that they became physicians themselves, their skills equaling those of the surgeons they assisted. Band members also helped out the hospital staff by entertaining the wounded soldiers and providing music for the funerals of the dead. One physician noticed the effect of the band on the sick, claiming, "the wounded men had little to interest them in their recuperation until the band of the 9th . . . marched from camp to play."40 The band members of the "Stonewall Brigade" were so necessary to post-battle medical activities that their petition to participate in the funeral of their namesake, General "Stonewall" J. Jackson, in 1863 was denied.41


Impact of Musicians

"The boys think of the brass band as the important element of the army."
Charles W. Bardeen (1863)42

In addition to purely military duties, musicians affected their fellow soldiers' lives in many ways. They serenaded officers and infantry, entertained troops on the march, and as previously stated, solemnized funerals and victory celebrations. During the Civil War, each side maintained considerably civil attitudes towards the other when not engaged in battle. The bands represent one of the most important forms of such civility, with many "truce concerts" performed by both the North and South. There are numerous stories about Union and Confederate bands serenading each other after hours. Sometimes these serenades became good-natured "battles" in themselves, with each opponent trying to outdo the other by playing faster, more expressively.43 On 30 December 1862, the night before the battle at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the Federal band played Union favorites, such as "Yankee Doodle" and "Hail Columbia," within ear shot of the rebel forces. The Confederate band responded by playing "Dixie" and "The Bonnie Blue Flag." Because neither band wanted the other to prevail with the last song, the exchange continued until both bands played a poignant but neutral selection, "Home Sweet Home."44 At the battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, the Federal band was camped so close to their enemy that one Confederate soldier was able to request verbally the Northern band to play some of "our tunes." The Northern band obliged.45 A rendition of "Dixie's Land" by Gilmore's ensemble brought cheers from both Union and Confederate soldiers camped closely together in Virginia in 1862.46 Often these concerts were accompanied by exchanges of small gifts between rival bands, such as tobacco, apples, and coffee.47

More importantly, bands focused on providing music for their comrades. Soldiers enjoyed evening concerts by the brigade bands and special programs on holidays and other festive occasions. For instance, the band of the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteers played evening concerts on the grounds of General Robert E. Lee's former Virginia mansion.48 Musicians were often able to show off their musical skills at these events. They played difficult operatic selections in combination with the standard fare of marches, quicksteps, and waltzes; an example program is provided as Figure 1.


Figure 1. Concert performed by the members of the Seventy-First New York Regiment Band Conducted by Harvey Dodworth (May 1861, Washington D.C.)49

1. Quickstep, "Thou Art Far Away".Millard
2. Song, "Yes! Let Me Like a Soldier Fall".... Wallace
3. Quartet, "Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming"..Foster
4. Song, "The Monks of Old"..Glover
5. Finale from "La Traviata"...Verdi
6. New National Ode, "The Flag of the Free".Millard
7. Trio, "Love's Young Dream".. Moore
8. Fantasie on "Un Ballo in Maschera"...Verdi
9. "Miserere" from "Il Trovatore"...Verdi
10. Duetto, "I Would That My Love"Mendelssohn
11. Patriotic Song, "Viva l'America"...Millard
12. Full Chorus, "Star Spangled Banner"....Key


Serenading by both instrumentalists and vocalists was a popular activity in the nineteenth century. One of the greatest tributes a band could bestow on an individual was to perform in his honor. Soldiers most often played for popular officers, and it was customary for officers to offer a small token of appreciation in return, often in the form of food, money, or libation. In Washington, serenades also took place as indications of approval for Acts by the President or Congress. Some band members unscrupulously used these events for personal gain. As a few members of a North Carolina band admitted, "we went serenading for Major Jones, and flattered ourselves that we would get some good Christmas leaving, but came out missing."50

Civilians also benefited from the uplifting music provided by the bands. Concerts always attracted large crowds of spectators, especially those given by the Marine Band, which held regular Saturday concerts on the White House lawn, in addition to many others performed around the city. The Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia was also a center for cultural entertainment and the site of many extravaganzas and fundraisers. Patrick Gilmore's band played weekly fundraising concerts in Boston. His main goal was to cheer and comfort the civilians; his band played programs of light and happy numbers, sacred tunes, and patriotic fare.51 In Washington the public was often treated to "grand reviews" by the troops. One such occasion lasted approximately three hours and included about fifty bands.52

Surely among the most significant benefits of music provided during the Civil War was its impact on the morale of the soldiers. Although the musicians may have been physically exhausted themselves, they were called on to serenade troops after long marches, during lulls in the fighting, and at the end of battles. There were no laws or regulations concerning duty hours for any of the soldiers, and band members often played well into the night after an equally long day. In addition, members were obliged to find time for practice and rehearsal, which also provided the non-musicians some entertainment.53 Twelve-year old Confederate drummer boy Delavan Miller proudly acknowledged his contribution: "Fife and Drum have been heard in every camp and upon all of the battlefields of the world. And for a marching column ther [sic] is nothing like martial music of the good old-fashioned kind."54 Music provided for the troops on the march was greatly appreciated by the men. Having recently crossed a swollen river, Confederate troops from the Stonewall Brigade were cheered and comforted by the band's rendition of "Dixie" after first "pouring the water from their horns."55 A band from a Minnesota regiment gave the troops the "courage to push on over dusty roads . . . when the men were ready to collapse and give up."56 The bands were also welcome relief to any soldier who had been in camp for extended periods of inactivity. Serious dramatic performances and amateur theatricals in the form of burlesques, minstrel shows, and variety shows provided entertainment both for the North and South. The regimental or brigade band played a critical role in these shows, usually as the culminating act.

There is considerable evidence, moreover, that band members were often in mortal danger while performing for the men and many times were sent perilously close to the fighting. While it is true that bandsmen generally held a less hazardous job than infantry soldiers, they were often in the direct line of fire on the battlefield.57 Believing that music would encourage the soldiers, Union General Sheridan ordered his band to play their "loudest and gayest tunes" during battle. He also knew the danger because he cautioned, "never mind if a bullet goes through a trombone or a trombonist now and then."58 Likewise, Confederate bands sometimes played during actual combat; there are reports of bands playing during battles as late as 1864.59 Julius Leinbach of the Twenty-Sixth North Carolina regimental band left the following account of his experience during the Battle of Gettysburg:

We learned afterwards, from Northern papers, that our playing had been heard across the lines and caused wonder that we should play while fighting was going on around us. Some little while after we left, a bomb struck and exploded very close to the place where we had been standing, no doubt having been intended for us.60

As further evidence of the proximity of musicians to the danger, one of the surviving music books from Leinbach's band exhibits a large hole pierced by a minié ball from a battle in August of 1864.61

There is some evidence that band members directly affected the outcome of battles. In 1861, the Forty-Sixth New York band was responsible for the Federals' successful capture of Fort Pulaski in South Carolina by playing a German tune repeatedly until many of the Confederates of German ancestry were drawn outside and taken.62 At the Battle of Front Royal, Virginia, in 1864, a Union cavalry division came under attack in heavy fog. The infantry advance was guided only by the division's 250 buglers. The sound, combined with the confusion of the fog, was too much for the Confederates, who broke ranks and retreated.63 Confederate General William McRae ingeniously sent his musicians, armed only with instruments, to the end of the line of troops to "give the enemy the impression that . . . [the] line extended much farther in that direction."64 Although the exact impact of this farce is not known, it is believed that Union generals often overestimated the size of the rebel forces.



The period from 1865 to approximately the 1920s has been called "the golden age of bands." This characterization is largely due to the interest generated in band music during the Civil War and by the wartime successes of Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore. Goldman, a significant American band conductor and scholar, identifies Gilmore as "the man who changed the history of band music in America."65 Gilmore's band became the prototype for Goldman's own successful touring band of the late 1800s and ultimately for all subsequent bands. In addition, Gilmore's instrumentation is still the basic standard for today's concert bands, and he was influential in elevating the standards for both players and compositions for concert bands. Many Civil War era bandleaders became models for the education of the next generation of music teachers. John Philip Sousa, who succeeded Gilmore in shaping the American band movement, had always been an admirer of Gilmore's. Sousa's own father was a trombone player in the United States Marine Band during the Civil War.66

The Civil War was not unlike other wars in that it spurred the growth of many industries and businesses. One of its beneficiaries was the instrument business. Before 1860 brass instruments were manufactured one by one; therefore, it was difficult and time-consuming to acquire a full band's worth of instruments. The armies needed a mass supply of instruments to fill regimental bands. Furthermore, military life was harsh on instruments, and they needed to be replaced often. The first instrument factory was established in 1860 by John Stratton to supply the government with bugles, drums, and fifes. In order to keep up with demand, Stratton's New York City factory began a system of mass production. At its peak, his company employed 150 to 200 workers and produced around 100 instruments per day.67 Many other small instrument makers also profited from the sale of other brass instruments. Due to the heavy demand, many of these small manufacturers merged to form large companies. The War also created a demand for drums although drum making was already an established profession in America before the 1860s. The U.S. Army ordered approximately 32,000 drums over the course of the conflict.68 The South also saw increased demand for violins and other instruments, which caused exorbitant inflation and a supply problem.

There were no standardized manufacturing guidelines for instruments, and tuning varied greatly between manufacturers. Therefore, it became desirable for bands to own a matched set of brass instruments from the same manufacturer. Technical innovations in brass and woodwind instruments during this time also improved the quality of the sound of the ensembles. The music industries of both the North and the South were tied closely together socially and economically. The Confederate capital of Richmond looked to New York for the latest fads in music, entertainment, and merchandise.69 Although the South sought to establish its independence from the North, musical practices, such as composition and publishing, were never able to break free completely. While the South had significantly less manpower and resources than the North, both governments attempted to employ the finest military musicians and bands.



"All history proves that music is as indispensable to warfare as money."70
New York Herald (11 January 1862)

In recent years scholars have undertaken a serious revision of received historical constructions and interpretations. The revelations and assessments of earlier generations have been routinely challenged. New modes of inquiry have resulted in new appreciations for the meaning ascribed to music by various elements in society. To borrow a military metaphor appropriate to this particular discussion, scholars previously have preferred to concern themselves with the exploits of the generals—their ingenious strategies, their challenges, their experiments, their triumphs—and have found little merit in the activities of the foot soldiers.

But, if it can be agreed that music history must take into account more than a handful of handed-down concepts or criteria, then an understanding of the musical past will prove to be much more interesting, much richer, and undoubtedly much closer to the truth. Reverence for "great men" and "great works" must be tempered with an appreciation for the commonplace. The measuring sticks of originality and innovation should not be universally applied to compositions and arrangements for which such virtues were never matters of consideration. Public performance by professionals in concert halls and critical responses in the form of reviews and musicological writings should not be idealized to the exclusion of out-of-door performances on a battlefield or a public square, whose details are only remembered in informal memoirs and personal letters. Specific genres (such as the sonata, the symphony, and the opera) or specific ensembles (such as the string quartet or the orchestra) should not be automatically preferred to a wind band or an arranged potpourri of popular or patriotic songs. Such an approach will by no means diminish the importance of truly remarkable individuals or the enduring power of extraordinary musical thinking, but it will, in fact, acknowledge the music-making of unknown "heroes" of both sexes who carried on grand traditions, musical traditions that define a time, a place, and a society in fundamental ways.

During the Civil War military musicians dramatically affected the lives of both soldiers and civilians. It was impossible for combatants and difficult for non-combatants to escape the musical actions of men whose efforts did much to soothe the anxieties of homesickness, the miseries of campaigning, and the tragedies of war. During a critical episode in American history, the very sound of a wind band played a significant role in caring for the souls and spirits of officers, soldiers, and civilians. Studies of American music and studies of the Civil War should acknowledge this well-documented phenomenon.

1Ronald Davis, A History of Music in American Life: The Formative Years, 1620-1865, 3 vol. (Malabar, FL: Robert E. Krieger, 1982), 266.

2Kenneth A. Bernard, Lincoln and the Music of the Civil War (Coldwell, ID: Caxton Printers, 1966), xviii.


4See, for example, W. S. B. Mathews, ed., A Hundred Years of Music in America: An Account of Musical Effort in America (Chicago: 1889, revised New York: AMS, 1970); Frederic L. Ritter, Music in America (New York: 1890, reprinted NY: Lenox Hill, 1972); John T. Howard, Our American Music: A Comprehensive History from 1620 to the Present, 4th ed. (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1965); Edward Jablonski, The Encyclopedia of American Music (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981); Ronald Davis, A History of Music in American Life: The Formative Years, 1620-1865, 3 vol. (Malabar, FL: Robert E. Krieger, 1982); Gilbert Chase, America's Music: From the Pilgrims to the Present, 3rd ed. (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1987); H. Wiley Hitchcock, Music in the United States: A Historical Introduction, 3rd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1988); Daniel Kingman, American Music: A Panorama, 2nd ed. (New York: Schirmer, 1990); Richard Crawford, The American Musical Landscape (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1993); Richard Crawford, America's Musical Life (New York: W. W. Norton, 2001); Jean Ferris, America's Musical Landscape, 4th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002).

5Robert E. Lee, quoted without documentation in Bell I. Wiley, The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1943), 157.

6The Union army was organized into approximately 200 brigades containing four or five regiments each.

7Francis A. Lord and Arthur Wise, Bands and Drummer Boys of the Civil War (South Brunswick, NJ: A. S. Barnes, 1966), 29.

8Jack Felts, "Some Aspects of the Rise and Development of the Wind Band during the Civil War," Journal of Band Research III/2 (Spring 1967), 30.

9Kenneth E. Olson, Music and Musket, Bands and Bandsmen of the American Civil War (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981), 72.

10Margaret H. Hazen and Robert M. Hazen, The Music Men: An Illustrated History of Brass Bands in America, 1800-1920 (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1987), 22.

11Kenneth E. Olson, Music and Musket, 36.

12Marshall M. Brice, The Stonewall Brigade Band (Verona, VA: McClure Printing, 1967), 27.

13Francis A. Lord and Arthur Wise, Bands and Drummer Boys, 33. For many of the young boys, it was their first trip away from home, and homesickness was common.

14Ibid., 47.

15Ibid., 182. The band then had to double time back to its place at the head of the division.

16Harry H. Hall, A Johnny Reb Band from Salem: The Pride of Tarheelia (Raleigh, NC: The North Carolina Confederate Centennial Commission, 1963), 1.

17Marshall M. Brice, Stonewall Brigade Band, 35.

18Kenneth E. Olson, Music and Musket, 75. The sanitary commission was organized to raise hygienic standards in the army camps and hospitals as a means for trying to curb the spread of disease. The American Red Cross was modeled after this organization.

19Robert Garofalo and Mark Elrod, A Pictorial History of Civil War Era Musical Instruments and Military Bands (Charleston, WV: Pictorial Histories Publishing, 1985), 57.

20Jack Felts, "Rise and Development of the Wind Band," 32.

21Francis A. Lord and Arthur Wise, Bands and Drummer Boys, 76.

22Fredrick Fennell, "The Civil War: Its Music and Sounds," Journal of Band Research V/1 (1968), 13.

23Kenneth E. Olson, Music and Musket, 77.

24Robert Garofalo and Mark Elrod, Pictorial History, 90.

25Francis A. Lord and Arthur Wise, Bands and Drummer Boys, 100.

26Charles W. Bardeen, A Little Fifer's War Diary (Syracuse, NY: C. W. Bardeen, 1910), 86.

27Fredrick Fennell, "The Civil War," 47. Almost any boy was allowed to enlist in the army: 300 drummer boys were under age thirteen, while twenty-five were age ten or under. Although Congress passed an act in 1864 that prohibited enlistment under age 16, it was rescinded in the case of drummer boys, over age 12, who had parental permission.

28Bell I. Wiley, The Life of Billy Yank: The Common Soldier of the Union (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1952), 163. See Bruce and Emmett, the official "textbook" for regimental fife and drummers. Many of these calls were so well known by the troops that the soldiers made up verses to sing along with them.

29William Bircher, A Drummer Boy's Diary: Comprising Four Years of Service with the Second Regiment Minnesota Veteran Volunteers, 1861-1865 (St. Paul, MN: St. Paul Book and Stationary, 1889), 53.

30For an excellent source of era photographs, consult Robert Garofalo and Mark Elrod, A Pictorial History of Civil War Era Musical Instruments and Military Bands (Charleston, WV: Pictorial Histories Publishing, 1985)

31Harry H. Hall, Johnny Reb Band From Salem, 16.

32Ibid., 14.

33Kenneth A. Bernard, Lincoln and the Music, 62.

34Pauline E. Norton, March Music in Nineteenth-Century America (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, 1983), 312.

35See Richard B. Harwell, Confederate Music (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1950) for a comprehensive listing of music published for bands in the South, and William A. Bufkin, Union Bands of the Civil War (1862-1865): Instrumentation and Score Analysis (Ph.D. dissertation, Louisiana State University, 1973) for detailed information about Northern band music.

36Bell I. Wiley, Life of Johnny Reb, 152. Both sides freely used the other side's music; many songs, such as George Root's "The Battle Cry of Freedom" exist with both Northern and Southern verses.

37Marshall M. Brice, Stonewall Brigade Band, 31.

38Francis A. Lord and Arthur Wise, Bands and Drummer Boys, 211.

39Ibid., 35.

40Ibid., 211.

41Marshall M. Brice, Stonewall Brigade Band, 35.

42Charles W. Bardeen, Little Fifer's, 175.

43Ibid., 318. In the absence of a band, these "battles" were fought through singing. In January of 1863, Private W.J. Kincheloe wrote home to his father, "we are on one side of the Rappahannock, the Enemy on the other.our boys will sing a Southern song, the Yankees will reply by singing the same tune to Yankee words."

44James M. McPherson, The Battle Cry of Freedom (NY: Ballantine, 1988), 580.

45Bell I. Wiley, Johnny Reb, 317, 318.

46H. W. Schwartz, Bands of America (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1957), 47.

47Marshall M. Brice, Stonewall Brigade Band, 34.

48Frank Rauscher, Music on the March 1862-'65 with the Army of the Potomac (Philadelphia: Press of William F. Fell, 1892), 20. When Lee accepted the position of leader of the Army of Northern Virginia, his home became headquarters for the Union army and later became the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.

49Kenneth A. Bernard, Lincoln and the Music, 22-23.

50Julius A. Leinbach and Donald M. McCorkle, "Regiment Band of the Twenty-Sixth North Carolina," Civil War History IV/3 (Sept, 1958), 233.

51H. W. Schwartz, Bands of America, 48.

52Kenneth E. Bernard, Lincoln and the Music, 47.

53Harry H. Hall, Johnny Reb Band from Salem, 82.

54George B. Bruce and Daniel D. Emmett, The Drummer's and Fifer's Guide: A Self-Instructor (New York: Wm. A. Pond, 1865; reprinted with addendum Reston, VA: George P. Carroll, 1989), 3.

55Marshall M. Brice, Stonewall Brigade Band, 38.

56Francis A. Lord and Arthur Wise, Bands and Drummer Boys, 44.

57Kenneth E. Olson, Music and Musket, 79.

58Robert Garofalo and Mark Elrod, Pictorial History, 57. In retaliation, the Confederates also ordered their band to "counteract the fervor that was generated by the Federal band."

59Francis A. Lord and Arthur Wise, Bands and Drummer Boys, 65.

60Julius A. Leinbach and Donald M. McCorkle, "Regiment Band of the Twenty-Sixth North Carolina," 229.

61Harry H. Hall, Johnny Reb Band from Salem, 70.

62Albert P. Hout, "The Fort That Fell to Music," Music Journal XXIX/6 (1971), 30-31, 55.

63Francis A. Lord and Arthur Wise, Bands and Drummer Boys, 99.

64Harry H. Hall, Johnny Reb Band from Salem, 94.

65Richard Franko Goldman, The Wind Band: Its Literature and Technique (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1961; reprinted Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1974), 48. Gilmore's band was one of the first ensembles to assume a non-functional role, specializing in concert performances and fundraisers. Their enormous success paved the way for the acceptance of other "concert bands," most notable the famous Sousa band.

66H. W. Schwartz, Bands of America, 99.

67Margaret H. Hazen and Robert M. Hazen, The Music Men, 135.

68William A. Bufkin, Union Bands of the Civil War, 165.

69Albert Stoutamire, Music of the Old South: Colony to Confederacy (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Press, 1972), 249.

70New York Herald (11 January 1862), quoted without documentation in Felts, Rise and Development, 29.

26808 Last modified on October 7, 2018