Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Zooming In on the Faces of the 107th USCI Band


Confederate general Robert E. Lee once remarked, "I do not believe that we can have an army without music." Army brass bands - as well as fife and drum corps were (no pun intended) - instrumental to nineteenth century military forces. The inspiration that music provided to soldiers before, during, and after battles is often overlooked by historians, but their musical efforts were certainly well appreciated by their comrades in arms.

I shared a primary source a few posts back from a soldier in the 5th United States Colored Cavalry that mentioned that the unit had saved $900 to purchased instruments for a brass band, but that the regiment's white officers had threatened to take them away, presumably to sell them and keep the money. That piece of evidence along with the above photograph of the 107th United States Colored Infanrty (and like the 5th USCC, raised in Kentucky) provide impressive proof that military music was important to black troops, too.

I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at the faces of some of the men that provided musical enjoyment for the 107th. A steely determination can be seen in their countenances that are just as impressive as images of the regiment's soldiers who held rifles.




















Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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