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U S Civil War Musician (rank)

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  • Pvt. Samuel Mellison, Sr. (USA) (1849 - 1927)
    SAMUEL MELLISON, post trader, Fort Hays, first came to Kansas in 1871, and located near Saline River, Ellis County, on a farm where he engaged in stock-raising and farming until 1878. He then came to H...
  • John Sharp Hays, (USA) (1842 - 1877)
    Civil War Record: John S. Hays Mustered in 24 Aug 1861, Pa Regiment 48, Company "Band" as Musician, Discharged by General Order 18 Aug 1962.History of Cumberland Couty/Big Spring Presbyterian Church: J...
  • Private Volkert Wagner, ♊ (USA) (1820 - 1882)
    Civil War Veteran Musician, 161st New York Infantry Company I Enlisted: August 22, 1862 Discharged: 1865 Returned to Private on October 15, 1863
  • Sgt. George A Day, (USA) (1837 - c.1910)
    Notes for GEORGE DAY: 107TH INFANTRY COMPANIES F & G & J From the "History of DeWitt County, Illinois - 1882" The volunteers in this regiment were from DeWitt and Piatt Counties, DeWitt having s...
  • Pvt Henry Zellers Blinn (1844 - 1926)
    H.Z. Blinn enlisted in the Civil War when he was not quite 18-years-old and served his country until war's end as a musician. He returned to Grant County, Indiana to work the family farm.* Reference: F...

United States

The rank of Musician was a position held by military band members, particularly during the American Civil War. The rank was just below Corporal, and just above Private. In some units it was more or less equal to the rank of Private.

During the American Civil War, military leaders with the Union and Confederate Armies relied on military musicians to entertain troops, position troops in battle, and stir them on to victory — some actually performing concerts in forward positions during the fighting.

There were two types of historical traditions in military bands. The first was military field music. This type of music included bugles, bagpipes, or fifes and almost always drums. This type of music was used to control troops on the battlefield as well as for entertainment. One example of controlling the troops was the drum beats setting the march cadence for the troops. Following the development of instruments such as the keyed trumpet or the saxhorn family of brass instruments, a second tradition of the all brass military band was formed.

During the American Civil War most Union regiments had both types of groups within the unit.


Several U.S. Army Musicians were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Civil War. These recipients include:

William J. Carson (Musician)

John Cook (Bugler)

Richard Enderlin (Musician)

Benjamin F. Hilliker (Musician)

William H. Horsfall (Drummer)

Orion P. Howe (Musician)

Willie Johnston (Musician)

John S. Kountz (Musician)

James P. Landis (Chief Bugler)

J. C. Julius Langbein (Musician)

William Lord (Musician)

William Magee (Drummer)

Robinson B. Murphy (Musician)

George H. Palmer (Musician)

John T. Patterson (Principal Musician )
Charles W. Reed (Bugler)

Ferdinand F. Rohm (Chief Bugler)

Charles Schorn (Chief Bugler)

Julian A. Scott (Drummer)

James Snedden (Musician)

Alason P. Webber (Musician)

Thomas M. Wells (Chief Bugler)