Field Music of the Civil War by David Poulin

Claude Bauer

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David Poulin put together an excellent 24-page PDF booklet titled "FIELD MUSIC OF THE CIVIL WAR Including extracts from, The 1861 Revised Regulations, Enactments of Congress, And Customs of Service" (http://entrada1598.com/cw/cwmusic.pdf) It covers the different types of music found in Civil War camps, the role of field music, bands, etc., and includes information on the organization, instrumentation, and duties of Field Musicians, as well as some funny anecdotes like these:

"One humorous account of the Seventh U.S. Infantry involves a private who attempted to become a bugler. The post suffered much until the C.O. could stand it no more and dropped the project."

Being a fifer, I particularly liked this one: "Fifes and drums are not the sweetest sounds to be heard, especially at 5:30 in the morning. Many people do not like the sound at all, ranking fifes along with bagpipes as one of the most nauseating sounds available; much like holding a cat under the arm and biting its tail with your teeth... The West Point cadets called the field music "The Hellcats" because that's exactly what they sounded like at reveille."

"The groggy soldier woke up to a persistent, brain-rattling drumming noise, thrump, thrump, thrump. He rolled over in an attempt to ignore the sound and pulled up his blanket over his head. The drumming went on and intensified as drummers all over the camp signalled the call to muster. There was no escaping it, and eventually – and usually with a grumble -- the soldier got up to start another day." (from "The Boys' War")."

And here's a description of the rations doled out to young musicians studying at the Union's music school on Governor's Island, NY:

"...breakfast ... consisted of a small piece of cold salt pork, a bowl of coffee, and a four ounce piece of bread buttered with pork fat...Dinner was made up of a bowl of rice and vegetables or bean soup; boiled salt pork or bacon, bread, and rarely, one or two potatoes...After retreat they 'feasted' on a small portion of steamed dried apples, bread, and black coffee."

They weren't in prison, they were in the Army!
 
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Claude Bauer

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jan 8, 2012
sorry, where my mind went with the title:

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My fife and drum group rehearses on the Monocacy Battlefield--much of the property is still agricultural. There's a big field next to the Worthington house with a bunch of cows that I call our fan club. They always get active when we play. Probably not often that they get free field music! 🙂
 
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