Musical Patriotism of the Civil War
Two flags overlap on the cover of the Bonnie Blue Flag sheet music that has passed through many hands and sat atop many pianos in its lifetime. The blue flag bearing a single star, given consideration as the Texas symbol of secession, and Harry Macarthy’s patriotic tune encompassed some of the southern sentiment at the start of the Civil War. The song’s lyrics cried out to ban together brother’s who had toiled alongside one another and now felt that their rights were being threatened. The song describes how the southerners were just and fair as long as the Union was, “but now, when Northern treachery attempts our rights to mar, We hoist on high the Bonnie Blue Flag, that bears a Single Star.” Songs such as these were immensely popular among both Confederate and Union soldiers, they were viewed as being just as important as military strategy. Robert E. Lee himself believed that an army could not truly exist without music. A Bible and a songbook were the most popular texts carried by soldiers, and it was songs such as these that helped pass the long warring period.
Not only did music serve as a way to pass the time and link people supporting a common cause, but soldiers from both sides were joined together in their shared appreciation of music. One afternoon in December of 1862, in Fredericksburg, Virginia on either side of the Rappahannock River soldiers of the Confederacy and the Union were encamped. The Union soldiers began the festivities, playing their favorites for their Federal. The Confederate soldiers quickly joined the crowd to listen from the other side. The band threw in a few of the popular rebel songs they knew just for them, including the Bonnie Blue Flag.
Music played a critical and often underestimated role in the outcome of the Civil War. Songs were enjoyed daily that shaped experiences and got soldiers through tough times. At home, too, people were consoled by music when a loved one’s absence was felt due to war. The power of music can be used to unite people of certain opinions or to unite people in spite of those opinions. Thanks to composers like Harry Macarthy, the emotions and stories of the citizens of the Civil War era have been recorded for all posterity, allowing generations to come a chance to remember, identify with, and better understand the feelings of those long gone.
Direct quote from "Musical Patriotism of the Civil War", History Engine.
Link to the article :http://historyengine.richmond.edu/episodes/view/5037
Excerpts from "Technology in the Civil War: COLD STEEL!" by Sid Sidlo
Toward the end of the 18th century the sword bayonet was replaced by the angular socket, or ring, bayonet, with a sleeve that fit around the barrel and was held in place with a slot and stud. Also called a "spike" bayonet, it was about 14" to 18" long, round or triangular in shape, lighter in weight than a sword bayonet, and did not interfere with firing. Full-length arms, as the Springfield rifle, were equipped with the socket bayonet, which was standard equipment for both sides during the war.
As terrible as bayonets may seem, few in the Civil War ever died from bayonet wounds received in combat. Gen. John Gordon wrote: "The bristling points and the glitter of bayonets were fearful to look upon as they were leveled in front of a charging line, but they were rarely reddened with blood."
To be effective, the bayonet had to be aimed to reach a vital spot, deep in the body or protected by bone (they were also hard to pull out). While bayonet wounds were frightening and painful, they were generally not as devastating as bullet wounds. The accompanying excerpt from the report of a Confederate surgeon describes the differences.
During the ten months of Grant's overland campaign, from the Wilderness to Sayler's Creek, only some fifty bayonet wounds were treated surgically at Union army hospitals. In his Regimental Losses, Fox claims that of 250,000 Union wounded treated in hospitals, only 922 (.4 of 1%) were victims of cavalry sabers or bayonets. Most Civil War soldiers recognized the practical ineffectiveness of the bayonet. In hand-to-hand combat they preferred to use knives or wield their muskets as clubs. For most of the war, both Yanks and Rebs chose to use their bayonets as entrenching tools, tent pegs, candle holders, or roasting spits.
Source: Technology in the Civil War: COLD STEEL!" by Sid Sidlo
The full article link: http://clevelandcivilwarroundtable.com/articles/means/cold_steele.htm
Excerpt from "Confederate and Union Civil War Song Lyrics"
The story of the Civil War can be told entirely through the music of the time. Both sides sang songs about every aspect of the conflict. Music has long been important in the lives of all people. The Civil War soldiers and civilians were not exceptions. The average soldier had a lot of time on his hands. A favorite pastime was singing. Music gave soldiers a way to express their emotions and experiences. They sang in camp and on marches. There were songs for entertainment, to lift morale, to give courage and to remind them of their loved ones at home.
Source: National Park Service, Gettysburg National Military Park
Link to the full article: http://americancivilwar.com/Civil_War_Music/song_lyrics/
On May 23, 1861, Virginia seceded from the Union. President Abraham Lincoln ordered troops to occupy the port city of Alexandria. The next day, an enraged innkeeper there fired a shotgun point-blank into the chest of Col. Elmer Ellsworth of the 11th New York Volunteers. The innkeeper was immediately gunned down by one of Ellsworth’s men; the colonel became the first Union officer to die in the Civil War. In his new book, 1861: The Civil War Awakening, Adam Goodheart explains that Ellsworth was not merely a surrogate little brother to Lincoln, but also an exemplar of the romantic idealism that characterized the generation of Americans that came of age in the 1850s. Here is how Goodheart portrays the aftermath of Ellsworth’s death:
A torrent of emotion, penned up during the anxious weeks since Sumter’s fall, had been released, pouring out for a dead hero who had never fought a battle, but was rather, as one newspaper put it, been “shot down like a dog.” There was more to the response than just 19th-century sentimentality, more than just patriotic fervor. Across America, Ellsworth’s death released a tide of hatred, of enmity and counter-enmity, of sectional bloodlust that had hitherto been dammed up, if only barely, amid the flag-waving and patriotic anthems.
Indeed, it was perhaps Ellsworth’s death, even more than the attack on Sumter, that made Northerners ready not just to take up arms, but to kill. For the first month of the war, some had assumed that the war would play out more or less as a show of force: Union troops would march across the South and the rebels would capitulate. Yankees talked big about sending Jeff Davis and other secessionist leaders to the gallows, but almost never about shooting enemy soldiers. They preferred to think of Southerners in the terms that Lincoln would use throughout the war: as estranged brethren, misled by a few demagogues, who needed to be brought back into the national fold. Many Confederates, however, had already expressed relish at the prospect of slaughtering their former countrymen. “Well, let them come, those minions of the North,” wrote one Virginian in a letter to the Richmond Dispatch on May 18. “We’ll meet them in a way they least expect; we will glut our carrion crows with their beastly carcasses.”
Even after Ellsworth’s body had, at last, been laid to rest on a hillside behind his boyhood home in Mechanicsville, New York, the nationwide fervor scarcely waned. Photographs, lithographs and pocket-size biographies paying tribute to the fallen hero poured forth by the tens of thousands. Music shops sold scores for such tunes as “Col. Ellsworth’s Funeral March,” “Ellsworth’s Requiem” and “Col. Ellsworth Gallopade.”
Excerpts from "1861: The Civil War Awakening" by Adam Goodheart, to be published by Knopf
Source: Smithsonian Magazine
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/How-Col-Ellsworths-Death-Shocked-the-Union.html
"John Brown's Body" (originally known as "John Brown's Song") is an American marching song about the abolitionist John Brown. The song was popular in the Union during the American Civil War. The tune arose out of the folk hymn tradition of the American camp meeting movement of the 19th century. The song's authorship is disputed; one account first published in 1890 claims the lyrics were a collective effort by Union soldiers and that the lyrics also referred humorously to Sergeant John Brown of the Second Battalion, Boston Light Infantry Volunteer Militia. The songwriter and Union soldier Thomas Brigham Bishop is also credited with the song.
-- Wikipedia.com, link for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Brown's_Body
Back around the time that northern Christians, abolitionists, free blacks, anti-slavery activists and Kansas land owners first formed the Republican party, John Brown, an abolitionist and Baptist preacher, gave his life to put an end to slavery. During the civil war northern soldiers sang this old song as they marched off to battle. After "Julia Ward Howe" heard Union troops singing this, *the original (published Dec. 1861 in the Chicago Tribune) version of the song, she wrote her own words to it's tune. Soon after, her version was published Feb 1862 in the "Atlantic Monthly" as "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic"
*William Weston Patton 1861/Gloria Jane 2004 Arrangement, Vocals, Guitar, and added one chorus from another version of the song, changed the words "Shall all be free" to "Were all set free" to fit today.
"John Brown's Body" ©Gloria Jane 2004
Excerpt from The Civil War Bands
"...the colorful Zouaves d'Afrique of Gen. Charles Collis, one of many such companies and regiments from the North and South who modeled themselves after the French fighting troops in Africa by adopting the uniform of 'red pants, Zouave jacket, white leggings, blue sash around the waist, and white turban.'Unlike other such outfits, however, whose splendid uniforms could not be kept up, Collis's Zouaves had a fortunate association with Capt. F. A. Elliott, a successful wool merchant in Germantown. It was he, no doubt, who arranged the purchase of such a supply of fresh material for uniforms from France that throughout the war they never lacked the distinctive Zouave dress."
The full artilce link: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/cwmhtml/cwmpres07.html
Excerpts from "C.S.S. Alabama" , J. Rickard, (11 December 2006)
The C.S.S. Alabama was the most successful Confederate commerce raider of the American Civil War. In a career that lasted for nearly two years, she sank or captured 66 Union ships, including the warship Hatteras.
The Alabama had been built through the efforts of James D. Bulloch, one of the more successful Confederate agents in Europe. He had placed orders for two ships soon after his arrival in Britain in June 1861. The Alabamawas built in the Laird’s shipyard at Birkenhead, Liverpool. She was a combined steam and sail ship, with a propeller that could be raised from the water to turn her into a pure sailing ship if needed. When everything was working well she could make 15 knots under a combination of steam and sail power. She also had a combination of types of gun, with six 32-pounder broadside guns as well as two pivot guns – one a 100 pounder rifled gun, the second an 8-inch solid shot gun. The Alabama demonstrates clearly how much naval warfare was in transition during the Civil War.
Source: J. Rickard, (11 December 2006), C.S.S. Alabama
Link to the full article : http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_css_alabama.html
Excerpts from "Civil War Music History and Songs"
Each company in an infantry regiment had a musician who was usually a drummer. They were relied upon to play drum beats to call the soldiers into formation and for other events. Drums got the soldiers up in the morning, signaled them to report for morning roll call, sick call, and guard duty. Drummers also played at night to signal lights out or "taps". The most important use of drums was on the battlefield where they were used to communicate orders from the commanding officers and signal troop movement. Civil War drums were made of wood that had been cut into thin layers, steamed, and formed into a round shell. The outside of a Union drum was often painted and featured a large eagle displaying its wings with the stars and stripes flowing around it. Confederate drums were not quite as fancy, many just having a plain wood finish. The heads of the drum were made from calfskin and stretched tight by ropes.
Drummers were often accompanied by a fifer. The fife was a high-pitched instrument, similar to a piccolo, and usually made of rosewood. This hollow wooden instrument was played by blowing wind over one hole and controlling the pitch with fingers placed over other holes along the length of the tube. Fancier fifes had brass fittings and engravings on them. Like drummers, the fifers were also part of the regiment's band who were detailed as musicians.
Not all drummers, fifers and bandsmen were allowed to go into battle. When fighting appeared imminent, musicians were often ordered to the rear to assist surgeons and care for the wounded. Some brigade bands did accompany their commanders onto the field and played patriotic songs while under the battle raged all around them. Can you imagine the type of courage it took to play your instrument while bullets and shells flew thick and fast all around you?
Source: "Civil War Music History and Songs", National Park Service, Gettysburg National Military Park
Link to the full article: http://americancivilwar.com/Civil_War_Music/civil_war_music.html
An authentic recreation of the regimental brass band music of the Civil War, played on original instruments.Recorded March, 1991 at Little Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College of Claremont, Calif.
Martin Gabel, narrator ; reactivated Civil War unit Battery B, 2nd New Jersey Light Artillery ; Eastman Wind Ensemble ; Frederick Fennell, conductor. The music recorded in the Eastman Theatre, Rochester, NY, Dec. 1960 and May 1962; battle sounds and other special effects recorded in Gettysburg, PA, Oct. 19