Band Music from the Civil War Era
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The Civil War Bands

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Ambulance Drill at Headquarters, Army of the Potomac near Brandy Station, March 1864 [Detail]. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-B811-1078.

As bandsmen served as hospital corpsmen, these Zouaves may have been members of Rauscher's band. Among the more vivid recollections of this often hazardous duty is that of a Massachusetts musician, John D. Whitcomb: "I put some considerable value on the service of the band in the several affairs the regiment was engaged in as an Ambulance Corps. . . . The mere fact of one member of the band being twice required to cross the line of fire of both forces, undoubtedly saved the lives of several members of our own regiment from the fire of one of our own batteries, several members of our own regiment having already been killed by the unfortunately located battery. . . . The bandsmen had been well taught by the surgeon how to give first aid to the wounded, and how to use stretchers, bandages and tourniquets. We were to go with the regiment into battle, rescue the wounded, if possible, and carry them to the field hospital. We were liable to be sent as messengers on dangerous errands." (Albert W. Mann, History of the Forty-Fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Militia [Jamaica Plain, Mass.: Brookside Print, 1908], 190.)

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Band Music from the Civil War Era