Music in American Civil War

Back in the 1860’s music was a big part in traditions and ways of representing certain things. It was used for many common things. Music was an important use during the Civil War because instrument patterns were commonly used to issue marching orders or to simply bost a soldier’s confidence. This is important because the music that was played was a common reminder of what the steps were that they needed to follow. Music caused great peace to the soldiers when learning to march, or just to feel good about themselves.

Music was a common use and was very popular by the public.

Music was used in many ways during the Civil War. Music was mostly used for soldiers and the war itself for the troops. Soldiers would use music in many ways, it would be a great tool to help them stay in line. Timothy Walch from the Statesman Journal states, “But Civil War music was more than these old chestnuts.

In fact, music was an integral part of the war from recruitment to battle, to bereavement and finally to homecoming.” This quote was saying how music was a big help when the soldiers needed help getting up or going to sleep. It was also a way of saying it’s time for war. When a certain song would play, then the soldiers new it was time to fight. This would be important because it would keep the soldier on track and on time. The Soldiers were used to the sounds of music so waking up or falling asleep to music was a major part of their routine.

The Journal also continues, ”We have music for everything,’ wrote one New York officer to his father, ‘Music telling us when to get up, music telling us when to go to bed, when to get breakfast, when to eat dinner, when to clean streets, when to drill, when to stop drilling, when to go to church on Sabbath, and when to come back. All is told to us by drum and fife.’ When music would play, it would be known that it is time for the next event, or place to be. “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” by William Steffe would be a common song to call soldiers into war and get them ready for marching. The music would be a very common way of services getting called. The Statesmen says, “As the outcome of the war seemed assured, there were more songs about the impending Union Victory.” Beyond military operations, music also was an important part of life in camp and at home. The musicians with any smaller army for example, performed in parades, at concerts and at other patriotic events. It is believed that there were more than 400 musical bands in the Union army and 125 bands with the Confederate forces.

There were many great composers and musicians who played and created the famous music that was used. American Battlefield Trust explains, “A measure of the song’s success can be seen in the flurry of imitations that appeared soon after its publication.” The text also refers to famous composers who created these very popular amazing song and started to make song writing more common. When composers started to write songs, they wanted to write sings for similar topics like freedom, war, and the public. These songs were written for the composer to express their feelings, or try to express how the general public is feeling. Some composer write songs just to write them and they have fun with it and they have no general meaning. American Battlefield Trust states, “When the War Between the States broke out, George Root began to write inspirational songs for the Union war effort.” When war was starting to get talked about, or was about to begin. Composers would have the idea to create these song that would represent the war that was going on. The composers and musicians were actually a pretty large part in the start of the wars and battles. They would open up and start the war and give that extra motivation with their music.

Music was a very popular things back in the early 1800s. There were many likes to the music and a few dislikes. Music was either a thing that was loved, or hated. The type of music was also a big part because of the style that went with what event. Robert E. Lee from American civil war explains, “Throughout the Civil War, music helped soldiers pass time, provided entertainment and comfort and reminded soldiers of home. In the Confederacy, a nation formed at the very beginning of the war, music helped to create the national identity.” This helps explain that music was a huge part in the Civil War. Parlor rooms were filled with the hard emotions of fear, pride, loss, relief. On the fields, music supported marching soldiers as they sang away their fear and exhaustion. Military bands were active throughout the war. Military field music consisted of drummers who were responsible for transmitting orders as well as playing to encourage or inspire soldiers. Military band music was filled with of brass and percussion which gave concerts in camp and at many functions but also played during battle to inspire the men. Sometimes, bands just simply entertained. The Music was a very popular thing and was almost everywhere. Timothy Walch from the Statesman Journal states, “So as our commemorations have come to a close, let’s remember the musicians who did so much to add sound to our memories of a conflict that nearly destroyed our nation” Musicians had a huge impact on how the war affected Americans and what it did to the people. They created peace in a situation where peace was almost non existent. They created lots of music to represent war and how it was for the soldiers fighting. The music gave the scared Americans a sense of relief. Stephen Cornelius in Essential Civil War says , “In combat, band performances were a regular feature. They might play polkas, waltzes, hymns, marches, or national airs, even with shells exploding all about.” The musicians played a lot of instruments to make sure the one matches the feeling of where the music would be playing. The different instruments would be used very commonly and would be played by many different ages of kids and adults.

Music has been a big part of the Civil War and the composers and musicians have impacted the war and the type of feeling the soldiers have when they are fighting or marching to the music. Music caused great ease to the soldiers when learning to march, or just to feel good about themselves. Music was used for many things including, music telling the soldiers when to get up, music telling them when to go to bed, when to get breakfast, when to eat dinner, when to clean streets, when to drill, when to stop drilling, when to go to church on Sabbath, and when to come back. The musicians would wrote songs about war and they would make these songs to express how they feel about the dangerous and stressful situations that are happening in their life. Music was very popular in the early 1860s and was used for many things. Music was everywhere and was almost always playing or being played by many people. The civil war was a very tragic thing that happened, but was enlightened at the time through music. The soldiers would relieve their stress by music being played. Music was also a way of Americans being kept on time throughout their day. Music changed history as we know today by showing us that even in those dark war and battle times, people were keeping peace with themselves through music and creativity with music.

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