Saturday, April 19, 2014

Civil War Brass Bands

To follow up on my previous post about the Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, I want to look back at the beginning of brass ensembles in the United States.

 Band of the 10th Veteran Reserve Corps, Washington, D.C., April, 1865.

By the 1850's, brass band music was becoming increasingly popular in the United States.  The advancement of brass instruments opened up the window to more playing opportunities.  When the American Civil War broke out in 1861, the popular brass bands would end up serving a vital role in the armed forces.

(Federal City Brass Band)
(Federal City Brass Band, Civil War Era Brass Band)

These brass bands would play at parades, recruitment stations, and even on the battlefield.  They would play before the battle to inspire the troops as well as afterwards for comfort.  One of the most unique stories I found about civil war bands happened on the front lines between two Union and Confederate groups. Within earshot of each other, the two groups exchanged their side's patriotic tunes until an artillery barrage ended the 'music battle.'

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