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Music During the Civil War


By Paisley Kirkpatrick

Music can be a peacemaker of sorts. At least during the Civil Way 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 cornettist 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 didn’t to appear.

Across the lines, Federal pickets would shout, ”Hey, Johnny! We want that corner player.”

”He would play, but he’s afraid you’ll spoil his horn.”

”We’ll hold fire. ”

”All right, Yanks.”

The cornettist 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.

The Civil War, Strange & Fascinating Facts, by Burke Davis author of Gray Fox.



  1. Isn’t that interesting? I heard the Allied and Nazi forces did something similar at Christmas during WWII. Reminds us that the soldiers were just men who missed their homes and were caught up in something beyond their control. Great story, Paisley..

  2. Thanks Caroline. Yes, I thought it was interesting, too. One of my ancestors blue the horn at the beginning of battles (I think it was then) and he was young. Sad all the way around.

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