Gettysburg in Adams County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Communications Through Music
"I don't believe we can have an army without music"
General Robert E. Lee, 1864
During the American Civil War, field music provided invaluable communication in camps and on the battlefields. In camp, musicians were always placed near commanding officers to relay orders to the army. Musicians were utilized as the army's public address system. Bugle and drum calls were vital to communicating everything from reveille and meal times to gathering officers for meetings and assembling the troops. Army regulations detailed drummers and buglers to learn dozens of calls for camp duty, and battles and skirmishes.
Regular army field musicians received training at established schools such as the one on Governors Island in New York. Musicians in state volunteer regiments generally received training in less formal settings as part of local militia units or local bands.
New York Herald, 11 January 1862
Advance or Retreat?
During an advance on the enemy, field musicians were drawn up and posted twelve paces behind the file closers. There they could be called on to sound the numerous calls to direct the movement of troops including advance, retreat, lie down, rally by platoon or cease fire. As the muffled
Musicians were also detailed as stretcher-bearers or ordered to help at field hospitals established in the rear. Officers commanded many musicians to their side to act as orderlies whose job was to travel between commands delivering orders or information.
50th Pennsylvania Infantry
Location. 39° 49.521′ N, 77° 13.823′ W. Marker is in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker is at the intersection of Lefever Street and Wainright Avenue, on the right when traveling east on Lefever Street. Touch for map. Located 60 yards east of Baltimore Street in Unity Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 Lefever Street, Gettysburg PA 17325, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Unity Through Music (here, next to this marker); History of American Field Music (here, next to this marker); Dr. Rufus Benjamin Weaver (a few steps from this marker); The Evolution of Gettysburg's "Common School" (within shouting distance of this marker); "if anyone showed himself..." (within shouting distance of this marker); Baltimore Street - An Historic Corridor (within shouting distance of this marker); Witness Tree (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Stronghold (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gettysburg.
Also see . . . Unity Park - Eagle Scout Project. (Submitted on August 29, 2015.)
Categories. • Arts, Letters, Music • Communications • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 28, 2015, by Bill Donovan of Maplewood, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 151 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 28, 2015, by Bill Donovan of Maplewood, New Jersey. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.