When the Iron Brigade camped in Washington D.C. early in the war, the individual regiments brought their bands. But the 6th Wisconsin was not very good. Lance Herdegen in his new book relates a story about this band. “Each and every regiment believed and were ready to take an oath that their band was the best in the army,” explained Loyd Harris, a young man who enjoyed the music and even brought his violin to camp. He added with some sadness that the men in his 6th Wisconsin “were just as ready to wager anything from a box of cigars to a month's pay, rations included,” that their regimental band was, without exception, the worst in the army. What did it matter if old Colonel Cutler drilled the 6th Wisconsin until the men marched like Regulars? What did it matter if Lt. Frank Haskell made the guard mount “a model for the whole army?” What did it matter if the men in the ranks were the pride of old Wisconsin? It always came down to the sorry performance of “that unfortunate brass band” that played just one tune—“ The Village Quickstep”— at guard mount, dress parade, or on the march, over and over again, complained Harris. Even two decades later a veteran admitted that just the thought of that band “makes a cold chill creep over me.” Another observer admitted that what he called that “peculiar” organization “had more dogged perseverance and fewer friends than anything of the kind in our neighborhood and the most emphatic bass drum I ever heard.” The whole band matter reached a head during a brigade review. It was enough to “try the patience of a martyr,” Rufus Dawes grumbled to his brother, citing “the performance of that contemptible band of ours. Lance Herdegen "The Iron Brigade in Civil War and Memory"