Using musicians to administer punishment?

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Claude Bauer

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Jan 8, 2012
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I've seen several references to the use of musicians to administer punishment to soldiers in Colonial-era armies, but have not been able to turn up any references for them doing so during the Civil War. Does anyone have any references or sources for this aspect of the musician's duty during the Civil War? I'm thinking that by the Civil War, musicians were no longer involved in administering punishment beyond playing the "Rouge's March" when a soldier was marched out of camp or was en-route to being punished.

Regarding this practice in the Colonial era:


"Often times, the musicians even assisted in the punishment soldiers. A common consequence for soldiers who failed to meet the expectations of their commander was discharge from the army. In many cases, musicians marched the discharged soldier out of camp while playing their music in order to embarrass the guilty soldier. Furthermore, musicians were sometimes required to carry out the punishment of flogging the soldiers as well."
https://msamaryland400.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/marching-to-what-beat-sir-the-musicians-of-washingtons-army/

There's also this from a presentation about musicians in ancient armies:

Capture.JPG


And this reenactor included this aspect of the musician's duty in a recent music demo about musicians during the Colonial era (he's wearing an F&I uniform): https://www.facebook.com/OldLineFifeandDrum/videos/1122242181308769/
 
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Claude Bauer

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Jan 8, 2012
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Wait a minute. Music is suppose to be calming, not cadence for flogging.
They wouldn't play music to accompany the floggings, they would actually administer them--I've heard that drummers were preferred for this activity because they had stronger arms than fifers. So, not only did the musicians wake the soldiers up at dawn every day by pounding on drums and playing high pitched fifes right outside their tents, they also made more money than privates, and flogged them to boot. I doubt anyone was asking for their autographs.
 
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