September 2002

Music in the Civil War

During the Civil War, music played an extremely large and important part in the lives, of both the soldiers and the folks at home.  When you really stop and think about it, it was a major source of entertainment back then.  With the music, feelings were expressed that may not have been otherwise.

The main instruments for the soldiers were the drums, which kept everyone in step, the fifes and the bugles.  The buglers were relied upon for commands; reveille in the morning, advance and retreat commands and then there was tattoo at night.  There was much singing around the campfires of both sides.  Sometimes new words were written to old songs, which is why you'll see a couple of versions of several songs.

Regimental bands, of both the Union and Confederate armies were certainly morale boosters and they attracted new recruits.

Oft times, members of the bands served as medics, working in field hospitals, helping to remove wounded and also burying the dead.

Many time bans from opposing sides could hear each other because their camps were so close.   (See December 2000 - "Along the Rappahannock River"  column.)

The bands averaged 12-16, some with as few as 6 and as many as 24.  Instrument may have included Cornet, Flugelhorn, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, tuba, a side drum and bass drum.

Neshaminy, Bensalem, PA 2000
Photo by Jayne

Neshaminy, Bensalem, PA, April 2002
Photo courtesy of GeorgeH

Neshaminy, Bensalem, PA, April 2002
Photo courtesy of GeorgeH

Neshaminy, Bensalem, April 2000
Photo by Jayne

Remembrance Day, Gettysburg, PA Nov. 2000
Photo by Jayne

Remembrance Day, Gettysburg, PA Nov. 2000
Photo by Jayne

 

 

Poetry and Music of the War Between the States
http://users.erols.com/kfraser/

The Civil War Music Site: Songs
http://www.civilwarmusic.net/songs.php

Civil War Music
http://home.att.net/~dmercado/music.htm

Artist - Robert Trentham
http://www.geocities.com/rdtrentham/artist.htm

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