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MLovejoy
09-10-2010, 10:41 PM
I just need an answer to this one thing that has perturbed me about field music in reenacting since I was as a young lad playing, but is there any photograph or written evidence of drummers or fifers wearing NCO stripes (excluding Drum Majors of course)? I see so many drummers or fifers today that are sporting the minimum of at least corporal stripes on their jackets. I haven't come across anything that would prove otherwise in the photos I've observed. The one thing I have noticed is the prevalence of NCO belts worn by musicians. If anyone has an answer to this I'd love to see it, as my hunch this is a pure "reenactorism."

Thanks,

Ross L. Lamoreaux
09-10-2010, 11:32 PM
The rank of musicians was musician, thus no stripes. Some principal musicians and drum majors unofficially wore the insignia of sergeant major, often with a star (with several variants of that theme). Military Images magazine, a few years ago, offered an excellent documentary group of images showing the various types seen in original images. There were definitely no corporals or sergeants as musicians. As for the NCO belts, you'll find many original images with musicians and bandsmen wearing them. At this late hour I'll let someone else delve into the regulations, but the practice of NCO beltplate wearing seemed prevelant.

MLovejoy
09-11-2010, 09:32 AM
Ross I agree with you 100% on everything you said. I just want to know how and why reenacting musicians are wearing NCO stripes from I can see was never the practice then. It's just one of those pet peeves of mine, and it's probably something I'll never get to the bottom of.

RJSamp
09-15-2010, 10:03 PM
The rank of musicians was musician, thus no stripes. Some principal musicians and drum majors unofficially wore the insignia of sergeant major, often with a star (with several variants of that theme). Military Images magazine, a few years ago, offered an excellent documentary group of images showing the various types seen in original images. There were definitely no corporals or sergeants as musicians. As for the NCO belts, you'll find many original images with musicians and bandsmen wearing them. At this late hour I'll let someone else delve into the regulations, but the practice of NCO beltplate wearing seemed prevelant.

Corporal Eggleston was a Drummer in the 6th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment. When the unit went into action he handed his drum over to another member of the field musics and toted a rifle. He was killed while attempting to capture the flag of the 2nd Mississippi at the unfinished RR cut: July 1st, 1863 just west of Gettysburg.

Field musics and bandsmen wore just about anything....including sashes, NCO belt buckles, swords, Hardee hats with ostrich feathers, white gloves, etc..... and Principal Musician's\Band Leader's might wear extravagant 'Doc Severinsen' type outfits....

we've got pictures of musician's with Quartermaster Sergeant stripes, 'Principal Musician' stripes, etc.

Bottom line: we have WAY too much stripes and shoulder rank markings than they had.....and it definitely is NOT limited to musician's.

Enjoy: http://www.rjsamp.com/PM_Chevrons/pmchevrons.html

RJSamp
09-15-2010, 10:14 PM
Ross I agree with you 100% on everything you said. I just want to know how and why reenacting musicians are wearing NCO stripes from I can see was never the practice then. It's just one of those pet peeves of mine, and it's probably something I'll never get to the bottom of.

Maybe some of the same reasons 'YOUR unit has too many Stipers and Strappers in it.....every been at an event with a Colonel or General in charge.....of how many hundred or Thousand rifles??? Event after event has simply too many Corporals, Sergeants, Captains, Officer's, Colonels.....and not enough rifles to support the name of Company, division, or Regiment.

When was the last event you went to that had scale rank? you know, like a 2nd Lt. in charge of a 30 rifle 'section' instead of a Captain in charge of a Company. Any reason why a Captain couldn't command a 3 company 78 rifle 'Regiment' and leave the colors behind? Do we really need a Colonel to command dozens when in reality he would have commanded hundreds (and not 90, 125, or 150, but Hundreds).

The good news is that Musician's aren't wearing Corporal and NCO stripes at the Midwest and First Federal Division events that I attend.... although if I had looked closely I might have seen some extra stripes in the large (and YOUNG) field musics at Return to Manassas in an Eastern Federal unit.....

MLovejoy
09-16-2010, 08:57 AM
RJ - I think I've seen it all when it comes to rank and troop ratios. I've given up on that one being that no matter how hard you fight it because it will never change. We'll never be able to field enough strength at events to truly have the rank justified by the number of troops (maybe some of the 150th events will bring back the numbers of some of those 135th events where it could be possible). And I feel that is true for all spectrums of the hobby because we have 80 man battalions portrarying units that would have had 3x plus the men at any event. But this all a discussion for another time and place.

I'm solely concerned with the drummer and fifers wearing corporal or sergeants stripes. Maybe it is an eastern thing since this where I have my basis; I've never been to a true western event so I can't make a comparison. And you are right about the music at RTM - I saw the same thing. Somewhere along the line, someone decided that it would be ok for musicians, other than the drum major (and principal musician if you are considering them the same thing), to be wearing any type of stripe. This is probably one of those things that will never be solved or corrected...oh well.

And thanks again for that sweet corn you gave me at RTM. It went well with the soup I made that night. It was as good as you said.

RJSamp
09-16-2010, 09:12 AM
I'm solely concerned with the drummer and fifers wearing corporal or sergeants stripes. Maybe it is an eastern thing since this where I have my basis; I've never been to a true western event so I can't make a comparison. And you are right about the music at RTM - I saw the same thing. Somewhere along the line, someone decided that it would be ok for musicians, other than the drum major (and principal musician if you are considering them the same thing), to be wearing any type of stripe. This is probably one of those things that will never be solved or corrected...oh well.


I am concerned also Matt. It is an Eastern thing, we don't have this in the Midwest in our field music's....YET. And hopefully never.

A Drum Major, Fife Major, Principal Musician are basically the same rank\person...just different 'titles' for the same role depending on the unit. Indiana regiments had a number of Fife Major's as their Field Music's leader (a Principal Musician)...

Regiment's are authorized 2 Principal Musician's (that's per 1,000 rifles\10 companies 1861 early war muster, not for an 1862-5 ACW reenactment with 370 rifle Divisions). One PM 'command's the Field Musics (the Musicians), the other the Band (the Bandsmen, also called Musicians). In formation\battle line the Field musics is behind the left center company....and the band is behind them. In marching out\Parade battle line the field musics is to the right of the right flank company, and the Band is to the right of the field music's....

We audition all musician's that serve in our units....if you want to play you must be able to play. We haven't baby sat in a decade.....drummers drum, fifers fife, and buglers tootle. I don't really care about ages, I've seen 60 year olds that can't play and 8 year olds that can play. We will abide by all event rules (no one on the field under a certain age, without their parent also on the field, etc.), unit rules, but will NOT compromise on the rule that they are musician's and must be able to perform. Period, period.

And no stripes on the uniforms. Maybe some Mom reading this post can take their stripes off of their childs uniform. NOW.

I told you that Japanese hybrid seed corn was SWEET....glad you put it to good, and tasty, use.