Monday, April 14, 2008

Form your own Band!

Here is a pod cast on how to form your very own Civil War Brass Band! The talk is being given by Dan Woolpert, a member of the Heritage Military Music Foundation. Get to it

Educational Video

Here is a great educational video about Civil War Brass Bands recorded by the Federal City Brass Band. Enjoy!

Coburn Brass Quintet

The Coburn Brass Quintet is a group dedicated to the performance of Civil War Music. Here is a link to their web site:

National Association of Civil War Brass Music

The National Association of Civil War Brass Music is a non-profit organization formed to "collect, preserve and make available for research and performance both the music and the instruments of American brass bands of the mid-19th century, particularly military bands and bugles of the American Civil War, and to present such music in public performances for the purpose of educating the general public and furthering public awareness and understanding of this important part of our American cultural heritage." Here is a link to their web site:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

National Music Museum

Here is a link to the Graese Gallery of the National Music Museum on the campus of North Dakota University. They have a large collection of Civil War era instruments, as well as all sorts of other instruments.

MP3s of Civil War Music

Here is a great site with lots of MP3s of Civil War music. While all of these are songs and not band music, it is important to realize the importance of popular songs as well as the band music of the era.

Library of Congress Civil War Sheet Music Collection

If you are ever looking for music from the Civil War Era this is the best source there is. The Library of Congress has the largest colloection of Civil War sheet music in the nation. You can search by subject, title or author. Here is the link.

Monday, April 7, 2008

CD Review: Rock of Erin: 69th Pennsylvania Irish Volunteers

The 69th Pennsylvania Irish Volunteers was a regiment from Eastern Pennsylvania made up of Irish immigrants. The 69th Pennsylvania Irish Volunteers Band is a reenactment group that specializes in a combination of Irish songs and traditional civil war era music. Their latest cd, Rock of Erin, leans far more towards Irish music more than Civil War music. There is also more of a "pop" element to the tracks. If you are a fan of Irish music this is a nice cd, but if you are looking for more traditional Civil War music this is probably not what you want.

Field Musicians during the Civil War

During the Civil War there was a distinction between the band musicians that is discussed at length om this blog, and the fifes, buglers, and drummers that comprised the field musicians. While the bands of the Civil War were use for entertainment purposes, the field musicians had a much more practical purpose, as a way of communication during the actual battles. Here is a link to a video of pictures of field musicians from the war set to music. Enjoy!

2003 National Civil War Band Festival

Here is a video from the 2003 Civil War Brass Band Festival. The video is actually more of a montage with the famous tune Shenandoah as the background music. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Book Review

Music and Musket: Bands and Bandsmen of the Civil War by Kennith Olson

The book Music and Musket by Kennith Olson is a histoy of martial music during the Civil War. It begins with a brief history of martial music in America, as well as the band movement in America. Olsen spends a great deal of time outlining the importance of the bands to the war effort both in terms of propaganda and morale. He also includes a chapter on the instruments used, as well as the music performed. While Olson does describe in great detail the band at Fort Sumpter, he usually tends to stay away from any great detail about specific bands. For this reason I would consider this book a broad overview of the topic of Civil War Bands. If you are looking for information on specific bands, or bandsmen this book would probably not help you very much. However, if you are new to the subject this book would be a great place to start.
-Art Haecker

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Excelsior Cornet Band

The Excelsior Cornet Band is a Reenactment band from Upstate New York that performs on authentic antique instruments. They have also recorded a very nice cd of Civil War band music. Here is a link to their web site. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

American Brass Quintet cds

There are two cds by the American Brass Quintet that are a must have for the Civil War Music fan. Both of the cds are from the notebook of the 26th North Carolina Regimental Band. This band is significant because it is the only complete collections of origional sheet music in existance from a Confederate band. The First of the two cds is entitled Storm in the Land: Music of the 26th North Carolina. The second cd is Cheer Boys Cheer. Here is a link to the Amazon listing of the cds.
Storm in the Land:
Cheer Boys Cheer

The American Brass Band Journal

The American Brass Band Journal is a cd collection of the brass music from the Civil War. The primary performers on this cd are the Empire Quintet. Other performers include John Swallow, John Marcellus, and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The conductor is Fredrick Fennell. Here is a link to Amazon's listing of the cd including reviews and, musical samples, and discriptions.

Friday, February 29, 2008

26th North Carolina video

Here is a video of the reenactment 26th North Carolina Band.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wisconsin 1st Brigade Band

The following is an essay from the 1st Wisconsin Brigade Band information site. Check it out!

In 1857, a group of citizens of Brodhead, Wisconsin, decided to form a brass band. They initially called themselves the Brodhead Tin Band, from the set of inexpensive tin instruments that they had purchased. Soon they purchased a set of brass instruments, however, and became known as the Brodhead Brass Band, or "B.B.B." Under that name, they performed at the debate between senatorial candidates Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas on August 27, 1858 at Freeport, Illinois.
During May and June 1861, the members of the band enlisted in the Union Army as the band of the 3rd Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment, commanded by Col. Charles Hamilton. The high spirits of the time inspired Edwin Oscar Kimberley, the band's leader, to write a song in praise of Col. Hamilton, "Hamilton's Badger Boys" (the song was later published in 1899). Despite this valiant beginning, the 3rd Regiment participated in the campaigns in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia during 1862, suffering from the hazards of battle and losing instruments during retreats. In July 1862, the government decided to reorganize music within the military and the regimental bands were mustered out. The 3rd Wisconsin Volunteers were discharged in July.
In early 1864, the citizens of Brodhead and other nearby towns raised the funds to enable the band to enlist again, as a brigade band associated with the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 15th Army Corps. This time, they bought top quality instruments produced by D. C. Hall of Boston and had proper uniforms made by the Smith and Bostwick Department Store Janesville. They also copied their music into the leather-bound partbooks of this collection, which contain about sixty tunes, including dances, songs, hymns, and marches.
By the end of August 1864, the band was looked upon as a credit to the brigade and their services were sought after. Kimberley wrote:
We continue to improve in playing slowly, and are looked upon as gentlemen and good musicians by the entire division! General Smith is trying to get us at his headquarters, he thinks all the world of us. I think if Brodhead could hear us play, or Janesville they would open their eyes.
(Edwin Oscar Kimberley, to his mother, undated letter in Wisconsin Historical Society)
After a furlough over Christmas of 1864, the band returned south and participated in Sherman's march through the Carolinas. During a brief respite in the action in April, Kimberley reported that the band had received attention from Gen. Sherman, himself:
Last night, according to previous notice, we repaired to Sherman's headquarters for a serenade. A new song, composed by prisoners [Lt. H. S. M. Byers of Iowa, who wrote the song while a prisoner of war in Charleston, S.C.] is in my possession, entitled When Sherman Marched Down to the Sea. After some rehearsing, I was the first one to sing it before our old hero, Billy T. [Sherman] and his entire staff, after which I sang another and rec'd a very high compliment from Sherman. After playing several pieces the crack band of the army made its appearance, namely the 33d Massachusetts and played several pieces. After all this we played another piece and returned to camp, assured we had done honor to ourselves at least. After getting in camp our Brigadier [Clark] came with a compliment from Sherman to our band, stating we were the model band of his entire army. This, said by a Gen'l of such wide world renown is certainly a big thing!-a great feather in our caps. The Massachusetts Band spoken of has always had the name of being the best band in Sherman's Army - pronounced by Sherman himself at Savannah. Not wishing to boast I will say of ourselves - we are not afraid of any Band in this Dept. of Tennessee or Georgia. During the campaign we done considerable playing and [were] spoken of very highly as good players and a band of gentlemen. We have strived to live up to and merit a continuance of that good name.
At the end of the war, the 1st Brigade Band participated in the Grand Review in Washington, D.C. on 8 June 1865 and, after a brief period in Kentucky, returned home. As a final hurrah, the band was invited to play at the homecoming celebration held by the town of Galena, Illinois, for General Ulysses S. Grant on August 18, 1865.
The band continued in existence with varying membership into the early twentieth century as the Brodhead Silver Cornet Band

About the collection
The musical legacy of the 1st Brigade Band consists of a set of twelve, leather-bound partbooks (although one of the twelve has lost its leather cover and some pages) and seven envelopes of other music manuscripts. The partbooks contain about 55 numbered selections and several unnumbered tunes. Most of the numbered tunes appear in all of the partbooks (although sometimes with variations in the numbering), but the unnumbered tunes generally appear in only a few of the partbooks. Usually the unnumbered tunes are fit into empty staves or pages among the numbered tunes, so it is possible that the other players had these added tunes on loose sheets that have been lost, or perhaps the musicians wanted the melody easily available. There are also instances where a number and title were entered at the top of a page, but no music was copied.
There are partbooks in the collection for the following instruments: 1st and 2nd E♭ cornet; 1st and 2nd B♭ cornet; solo alto E♭ horn; alto E♭ horn; 1st and 2nd B♭ tenor horn; 1st and 2nd B♭ bass horn; E♭ tuba; and drum/cymbals. A few partbooks are likely missing, since the band contained about sixteen members.
The music found in the folders is not present in the partbooks, with one exception (Col. White's quickstep). Several items consist of a signature of folded sheets with the music for that tune entered as single parts for the various instruments one after the other, and in some cases also containing a scored version of the piece. Because most band music was unpublished, especially as band arrangements, this type of item represents the way that band music circulated among bandleaders, who would then copy out the parts for their own band, or have the players copy out their parts, and then send the packet to the next person on the list.
This collection is housed in the Special Collections of Memorial Library at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
The Music
About half of the pieces in this collection are identified as quicksteps. At the time of the Civil War, quickstep was a generic term applied t a broad class of duple meter (either 2/4 or 6/8) compositions and arrangements. They were what we would now call marches and their main purpose was to carry the band and troops along while marching. (At that time, marches were stately pieces (usually 4/4, or occasionally in 12/8, meter) meant for processions and ceremonial occasions.) Quicksteps were also commonly also used in concerts and serenades. Some tunes have "quickstep" as part of their titles and in some it was simply understood. The word was frequently abbreviated to QS or Q.S.
Because moving troops was the main duty of a Civil War band, their appetite for quicksteps was insatiable. There were eventually so many arrangements that frequently they were not given titles; just numbers in the band book (this was also common with waltzes and polkas). Tunes of all sorts (from hymn tunes to popular sentimental ballads to excerpts from European opera and concert music) were adapted to the quickstep idiom. In addition, quickstep medleys have five or six tunes strung together with little or no transitional material and the added tunes were virtually as popular as the first one. In this collection two good examples of quickstep medleys are "The Battle Cry of Freedom" (paired with "Kingdom Coming") and "Weeping Sad And Lonely (When This Cruel War Is Over)" (paired with "Hoist Up The Flag").
There are also several numbers either written or arranged by Claudio Grafulla, a prominent bandleader and composer of band music, including "Centennial quickstep," "Attila quickstep," and "Colonel White's quickstep."
As would be expected, there are patriotic tunes, including "The star spangled banner," "America," and "Hail Columbia." Several of the partbooks contain musical notations for various military purposes, such as reveille, tattoo, and cheers. Also present is an arrangement of "Dixie," by Dan Decatur Emmett, which was popular in the North as well as in the South, followed by "Ned Kendall's Favorite Reel".
The third group of musical material represents sacred music, including "Pleyel's hymn," "Notting Hill," and "Come, ye disconsolate," by Samuel Webbe. There are at least three different funeral marches.
The composers of almost all of these pieces are not identified in the partbooks themselves. Some have been identified by using various catalogs and reference sources, but it is likely that the unidentified tunes in this collection are unique. Since Kimberley is known to have composed, it is likely that some of the arrangements are by him.

Library of Congress

Here is a link to a great article from the Library of Congress about Civil War Music and brass bands. It is extremely extensive, and is annotated with footnotes and a bibliography. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Michigan 5th Regimental Band

Here is an essay about the Michigan 5th Regimental Band taken from their web site. Enjoy!

5th Regiment Michigan Infantry 1861-5The Fifth Infantry was organized at Fort Wayne, Detroit, and was mustered into service Aut 28, 1861, with an enrollment of 900 officers and men. The several companies composing the Regiment were locally designated as follows: the "Sherlock Guard", of Detroit; the "Mt. Clemens Rifle Guard", of Mt. Clemens; the "East Saginaw Volunteers", of East Saginaw; the "Ingersoll Rifles", of Owosso; the "Governor's Guard", of Detroit, the "Saginaw City Light Infantry", of Saginaw; the "Livingston Volunteers", of Livingston and Brighton, the "Washington Guard", of St. Clair, the "Pontiac Volunteers", of Pontiac and the "Huron Rangers" of Port Huron.
The Regiment left its rendezvous the 11th day of September, 1861, to join the Army of the Potomac. During the winter of 1861-62 it was at Alexandria, Va., then in March 1862 was assigned to Berry's Brigade, Kearney's Division, taking part in the Peninsular Campaign of 1862, under General McClellan. The fifth was at the Seige of Yorktown, participating in the battle of Williamsburg, May 5th, where it displayed unusual gallantry, which was testified to by its losses and the bravery and fortitude of its officers and men. The Regiment charged the Confederate works carrying them with the bayonet; however, in doing so received the murderous fire of the Confederates and from a total of 500 men composing the Regiment lost 34 killed and 119 wounded. For gallantry in this action the Fifth received congratulatory orders from General Berry, commanding the Brigade, General Kearney, commanding the Division. General McClellan also commended the Regiment highly to the Secretary of War. Before the month of May closed the Regiment was destined to meet with severe loss in battle of Fair Oaks. It went into action on May 31st, 300 strong and lost 30 killed, 120 wounded and 5 missing. This made a total loss for the month of May of 308 men. It was engaged at the Chickahominy River, June 25th, at Pea ch Orchard on the 29th and at Malvern Hill on the 1st of July. In these successive battles the Regiment bore a prominent part and its losses were heavy. The field officers had suffered so severly in killed and wounded that the Regiment during July was in command of Captain Farras. A large number of line officers were also either killed or wounded. The Regiment returned from the Peninsular Campaign to serve in the campaign under General Pope, taking part in the engagements at Manassas, Groveton and Chantilly.
In December of 1862, the Fifth took part in the disastrous battle of Fredricksburg, where its losses in killed and wounded were 100, Lieutenant Colonel Gilluly, commanding the Regiment, being among the killed. During the months of Dec. 1862 and Jan. 1863, the Regiment crossed and re-crossed the Rappahannock River participating in many marches coupled with a great amount of fatigue duty. In May it took part in the battles of Cedars and Chancellorsville, where it fought with its accustomed gallantry resulting in more than 50 killed and wounded. At Chancellorsville, Lieutenant Colonel Sherlock, commanding the Regiment was killed. Major Pulford was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel on May 2nd, 1863, then under his command, the Regiment made a series of forced marches arriving at Gettysburg, Pa., on July 2nd at 4 p.m. where it went into action immediately about a mile beyond the Emmettsburg Pike, where in one hour they lost 105 men killed and wounded, about one-half of the men in the Regiment. The loss of officers was especially severe. The Fifth followed the retreating Confederates after the battle of Gettysburg to Williamsburg, then after murderous marches were placed on transports at Alexandria to sail for New York City to help quell the draft riots. In September it again joined its Corp, then on the 7th of November, 1863, crossed the Rappahannock River at Kelly's Ford. On the 27th it was engaged at Locust Grove, losing several killed and wounded, engaged again on the 29th at Mine Run. The Fifth went into winter quarters at Brandy Station,Va., where it remained until December when it re-enlisted and returned to Michigan on Veteran furlough. Assembling again at Detroit with a large number of recruits it returned to its former camp at Brandy Station, where it arrived Feb. 14, 1864. The following May it entered into the Wilderness Campaign under command of Colonel Pulford. The Fifth marched by way of Chancellosville and was soon engaged in the death grapple in the Wilderness, where it sustained severe casualties in killed and wounded, the Regiment passed to the command of Captain Wakenshaw and Captain Shook, who in turn were wounded and the Regiment was then in the command of a Lieutenant. In making a charge upon the Confederate works Sergeant Kemp of company F, captured the flag of a Virginia Regiment. The Regiment was constantly under fire with its numbers greatly depleted by losses. So to, the Third Michigan had been depleted in a like number. At this time the two Regiments were temporarily, then afterward permanently, consolidated.
On the 12th of May the Regiment made a charge at Spottsylvania where two stands of Confederate colors were captured. It was engaged at the North Anna River on the 29th, the next day crossed the river, where it drove the Confederates from a strong position, then recrossed the North Anna River and marched to the Pamunky River. The Regiment was constantly changing its positions, marching by night and fighting or constructing works during the day, making the campaign one of unusual hardships. The incessant marching and fighting told heavily on the command. Scarcely for an hour out of range of the Confederates, always alert for an attack or defence, the trying ordeal at times almost past the limit of human endurance. The Fifth reached Cold Harbor, June 5th followed by fatiguing marches and hard fighting, they crossed the James River and arrived before Petersburg the 15th. From this date until the fall of Petersburg, the following April, the Regiment was usually in the advanced line of works or participating in the sharp engagements at Boydton Plank Road and Hatcher's Run, making numerous charges upon the Confederate works and strongholds.It was scarcely ever out of the range of the Confederate guns for the nine day's and months it was on duty before Petersburg, then, when that city fell, April 3rd, the Fifth was one of the first Regiments to plant its colors on the Confederate breastworks. After the capture of Petersburg, the Fifth followed the retreating Confederates, being heavily engaged at Saylers Creek, and was on the firing line at Appomattox Court House, the morning that General Lee surrendered the army of Northern Virginia to General Grant. On May 1st the Regiment started for Washington where it participated in the Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac on the 23rd. June 10th the Regiment started for Louisville, Kentucky where it crossed the river to Jeffersonville, Indiana, where it was mustered out of U.S. service. It arrived at Detroit the 8th and was paid, then disbanded on the 17th of June, 1865.
During their term of Federal Service they were engaged at:
Pohick Church,Va./ Yorktown,Va./ Williamsburg,Va./ Fair Oaks,Va./ Peach Orchard,Va./ Glendale,Va./ Malvern Hill,Va./ Bull Run,Va./ Groveton,Va./ Chantilly,Va./ Fredricksburg,Va./ The Cedars,Va./ Chancellorsville,Va./ Gettysburg,Pa./ Wapping Heights,Va./ Auburn Heights,Va./ Kelly's Ford,Va./ Locust Grove,Va./ Mine Run,Va./ Wilderness,Va./ Todd's Tavern,Va./ Po River,Va./ Spottsylvania,Va./ North Anna River,Va./ Tolopotomy,Va./ Cold Harbor,Va./ Petersburg,Va./ Deep Bottom,Va./ Strawberry Plains,Tn./ Poplar Springs,Va./ Boydton Road,Va./ Hatcher's Run,Va./ Sailor's Creek,Va./ New Store, Va./ Appomatox Court House
Total Enrollment--1586..... Killed in Action--143..... Died of Wounds--63..... Died in Confederate Prisons--19 ..... Died of Disease--94..... Discharged for Wounds--269
Total Casualty Rate.........37.1%

5th Michigan Regiment Band

Plymouth, MI 4th of July Parade

5th Michigan Band at the Gettysburg monument for the 5th Michigan Infantry Regiment

Frankenmuth, Michigan 4th of July Concert
5th Michigan Band provides background music for the computer game: Forge of Freedom

The 5th Michigan Regiment Band was once known as the 5th Michigan Infantry Band. For 108 years, from 1865 - 1973, it was just a memory. Then as a State of Michigan Bicentennial project it was recreated in the form of the Fifth Michigan Regiment Band. In keeping with the authenticity of the Civil War "field" regimental bands, the present band consists of musicians, color guard, and support personnel.
The band's repertoire of the 1860's includes marches, polkas, schottisches, waltzes, and songs arranged for the group by Lt. Col. Guy Smith, Conductor. The present band plays on antique and replica Civil War instruments at reenactments, concerts, parades, festivals, and other special events.
The Fifth Michigan Regiment Band is a non-profit organization. Stipends charged for performances are based on the distance and length of time involved. All income is used for operating expenses and instruments. The Band is managed by a board of directors. All members are volunteers.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Here are some web sights concerning Civil War Bands, or music.

Band Music from the Civil War Era:

A history of the bands:

Web site for the Wisconsin 1st Bregade Band

Web site for the Excelsior Cornet Band

A link to a list of links about Civil War Bands!

1st Brigade Band homepage

East Germantown Band web page

Photos from the Civil War Band Festival

Web page for the 4th US Artillery Regimental Band

Web site for the 5th Michigan Regimental Band

Introductory Post!!

Wecome to the blog of Art Haecker! In this blog I will look at the history of the bands of the Civil War. I will also talk about re-enactment bands, cds, publications, and published music. I look forward to more posts in the near future!