Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: about regimental buglers, drummers, and bands

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    66

    Default about regimental buglers, drummers, and bands

    looking for clarifications and comments. I assume each regiment had one bugler,..was there a replacement or back up ? Was there one or more drummers for each regiment, and I assume they were placed at the head of a column ? Evidently some regiments had
    thier own complete band, and some did not. I read in company rosters where some musicians are listed with the staff, and some listed in each or some of the companies.
    Some companies list no musicians. Were they "loaned out" so to speak from the company to perform at the regimental level, and used for company duties when not
    performing as a band ?
    "In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances,
    profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer." Mark Twain

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    127

    Default

    In the infantry, army musicians were either drummers, fifers, buglers, or bandsmen.

    The drummers and fifers from each company were massed together to form the regimental drum corps, also referred to as the field music. To call the drum corps "the band" is a misnomer, but sometimes soldiers 150 years ago made the same mistake.

    The band (separate from the drum corps or field music) was basically for show and for entertainment. They played primarily brass instruments such as saxhorns and cornets, but frequently would have a bass drum and a snare drum. These band drummers typically were assigned to the band only and did not perform with the drum corps.

    The drum corps served as the "alarm clock," calling the men to roll call at reveille, retreat, and tattoo. They also would beat various calls such as pioneer's call, breakfast call, surgeon's call, assembly, dinner call, supper call, etc.

    While theoretically the drum corps could signal commands on the battlefield, the bugle was much better suited to this.

    Official regulations allowed for 2 musicians per company. Some companies did not have 2, and some broke the rules and had 3. Ideally, you would have one drummer and fifer per company, but this was very rare. Theoretically, you would have a drum corps of 10 fifers and 10 drummers, but it could end up being 10 drummers and 1 fifer, or 15 drummers and 3 fifers, or 3 drummers and 3 fifers, or maybe just 5 or 20 drummers. It is possible that they had no drum corps at all.

    One regiment (can't recall which one) boasted a full drum corps of 20 drummers plus a brass band.

    An early war photo of the Hempstead Rifles shows one bass drummer, two snare or "kettle" drummers, and one fifer. This was one company.

    Elrod and Garafolo's book has some great information on regimental and brigade bands, although the research might be a little dated, especially the section on field music (drummers and fifers).

    And yes, the rosters can be ambiguous as to what type of musician a person was.

    There is probably someone else who will chime in about buglers...
    Last edited by 33rdaladrummer; 05-10-2012 at 07:48 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Wheaton, IL
    Posts
    2,388

    Default

    Some regiments had ZERO buglers......other's 1,2, 10 (1st Mass. Infantry), 12 (83rd PA up until Yorktown), 2-3 per COMPANY (Berdan's, 15th Ohio, sharpshooter units,5th AL Battalion (Major Blackburn hisself bugled). Most Colonel's gave them an order to stay by their sides at all times. The 2nd + buglers were used on the skirmish line.

    On the MARCH, in column of route, the fifers and drummers (and colors) would precede the regiment....colors streaming, and a cavalcade of sound coming from the field musics or Brass Band.
    If in a Column of Manouevre, the color guard would tuck into the column of 4s (marching by usually the right flank) and the field music's would march on the side opposite the colors (usually left side of the column). Technically the band is further to the left of the field music's. When the battalion fronts, the field musics aligns itself to the left of the color guard ON the right side of the left center company.....and the band is behind the field musics. It's all in the manuals on pacings, etc.
    RJ Samp
    Horniste! Blas das Signal zum Angriffe!
    "But in the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of 'tomfoolery' can explain away conduct that in the end makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong. "

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Wheaton, IL
    Posts
    2,388

    Default

    Some regiments had ZERO buglers......other's 1,2, 10 (1st Mass. Infantry), 12 (83rd PA up until Yorktown), 2-3 per COMPANY (Berdan's, 15th Ohio, sharpshooter units,5th AL Battalion (Major Blackburn hisself bugled). Most Colonel's gave them an order to stay by their sides at all times. The 2nd + buglers were used on the skirmish line.

    On the MARCH, in column of route, the fifers and drummers (and colors) would precede the regiment....colors streaming, and a cavalcade of sound coming from the field musics or Brass Band.
    If in a Column of Manouevre, the color guard would tuck into the column of 4s (marching by usually the right flank) and the field music's would march on the side opposite the colors (usually left side of the column). Technically the band is further to the left of the field music's. When the battalion fronts, the field musics aligns itself to the left of the color guard ON the right side of the left center company.....and the band is behind the field musics. It's all in the manuals on pacings, etc.
    RJ Samp
    Horniste! Blas das Signal zum Angriffe!
    "But in the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of 'tomfoolery' can explain away conduct that in the end makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong. "

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    127

    Default

    Don't forget that they would sometimes march 15+ miles per day. The band and drum corps were not playing the whole time. In theory, the drum corps would regulate the men to take 110 steps per minute, but in reality they were mostly at route step, and there were stragglers, and there would only be music heard only when the army would pass through towns or on other occasions. The drummers would not be beating constantly. Also the drum corps would play slower than the "regulation" 110 bpm. So even if the drummers did play constantly, there would be an "accordeon" effect.

    Some accounts discuss drummers with busted drumheads, using their drums as "suitcases".

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    66

    Default

    sounds reasonable, and interesting to boot. thanks
    "In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances,
    profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer." Mark Twain

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Catonsville MD
    Posts
    208

    Default CW Buglers

    Mr. Hayden,

    Here is some information on Civil War bugling. It is geared for those who wish to portray buglers in re0-eancting but should give you some information you are looking for:
    http://tapsbugler.com/civil-war-re-e...or-the-bugler/

    Here are images:
    http://tapsbugler.com/buglers-in-the-civil-war/

    There is also a Facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/CWBugler

    Last but not least
    Check out the big event at Berkeley Plantation in June 2012
    http://taps150.org/wp/berkeley-taps

    V/R
    Jari Villanueva
    www.tapsbugler.com
    www.taps15.org
    The hardest 24 notes in music are Taps

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •