Thursday, March 2, 2017

Music Bonded During the Civil War

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
Music can be a peacemaker of sorts. At least during the Civil War it had a way of bonding the conflicting troops.
Before the fall of Atlanta, the brass band of Major Arthur Shoaff's battalion of the Georgia Sharpshooters gave their expert cornetist to the cause. Each evening after supper, the musician went to the front lines and played for the Confederates along the entrenchments. When firing was heavy, he wouldn't appear.
Across the lines, Federal pickets would shout, "Hey, Johnny! We want that cornet player.
"He would play, but he's afraid you'll spoil his horn."
"We'll hold fire."
"All right, Yanks."
The cornetist would then mount the works and play solos from operas, and sing tunes like Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming, and I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls in a fine tenor voice.
Colonel James Cooper Nisbet, who was on hand, never forgot the scene. "How the Yanks would applaud! They had a good cornet player who would alternate with our man."
Once the concert was over, firing would resume again.
The Civil War, Strange & Fascinating Facts, by Burke Davis author of Gray Fox.


  1. Amazing that those troops during fighting and facing death wanted to listen to music. Shows that music is good for the soul, anytime, any place. Thanks for sharing, Paisley.

    1. You're right. It must have been terrible to be fighting against people they might have known as well. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Paisley is back! We've missed you, lady. I hope you're on even keel now and all is well.
    I enjoyed this post--such as this makes us believe in the common unity of man, no matter which side we're on. Lovely. And timely for this day and time.

  3. Thank you, Celia. I am doing quite well now. It's been five weeks since I had my right hip replaced and my energy and ability to walk with out support is returning. It sure is so nice not to be in pain like I was before the surgery. :)

    I'm glad you enjoyed a touch of musical history. A touch of sanity during the killing.

  4. I love to hear stories like this—a moment of peace and camaraderie between opposing sides. I can imagine how soothing the music was to boys away from home. There is a story where during WWI the troops sang, played ball and exchanged tokens for several hours. Thanks for the post, Paisley!

    1. Music is so international. I fail to understand a lot of what they call music these days, but never tire of my generation of tunes. Thanks Linda.

  5. Paisley, I didn't know a thing about this event in the Civil War. I am such a fan of the music from that period though. While watching "The Civil War" series by Ken Burns, it is the music he included in the documentary that really made me feel connected to the people and the events in the film. There is such power in music. It has the ability to make us feel and influence us.
    Great post, Paisley.

    1. Thank you Sarah. I wonder if he did use music from the time period of the Civil War during the documentary. I would imagine it was.


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