Music and Gallantry in Combat During the American Civil War

TitleMusic and Gallantry in Combat During the American Civil War
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsDavis, James A.
JournalAmerican Music
Date Published07/2010

Courage was abundant on the battlefields of the American Civil War. Whether in small skirmishes or massive engagements, soldiers in blue and gray displayed heroism that surpassed even the naive and idealized expectations that precipitated the conflict. Music likewise pervaded the theaters of war. The sound of fifes, bugles, and drums accompanied the soldiers in every phase of a battle, keeping time as they marched and broadcasting commands across the raucous battlefield. Yet bugle calls and drumbeats were not the only music sounding amid the clash of arms: scattered accounts by witnesses and participants described voices raised in song alongside the firing of rifles or the blaring of a brass band accompanying the roar of cannon.

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