Military Bands served many purposes; one purpose was to keep up the spirits of the soldiers. Read these excerpts from the Heritage of Military Bands - Civil War Bands.

"[Federal] Corps commander [Samuel] Heintzelman joined the desperate struggle to close the broken ranks. He hit on the novel idea of rallying them with music. Finding several regimental bands standing by bewildered as the battle closed in, Heintzelman ordered them to take up their instruments. "Play! Play! It's all you're good for," he shouted. "Play, damn it! Play some marching tune! Play 'Yankee Doodle,' or any doodle you can think of, only play something!" Before long, over the roar of the guns, came the incongruous sound of "Yankee Doodle" and then "Three Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue." One of [General Joseph] Hooker's men thought the music was worth a thousand men. "It saved the battle," he wrote."

"Other records of the Civil indicated even more episodes that included bands. Survivors of General George Pickett's disastrous charge at the Battle of Gettysburg (July 3, 1863) remembered in later years that Confederate regimental bands stationed in the trees played stirring martial airs as they started off across the mile-long field that separated them from George Meade's Army of the Potomac. Those same bands greeted them with "Nearer, My God, To Thee" as they streamed back to the safety of their own lines after being repulsed at the stone wall. At Anttiem (16-17th September 1862) the band led the charge and many of the bandsmen received wounds, and yet kept the momentum of the troops alive with the sounding of the drums and the playing of various Confederate songs."

Text excerpted from the Heritage of Military Bands - Civil War Bands website,

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