Another great exhibit at the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum…
The American Brass Band of Rhode Island was formed as a state-chartered military band in 1837 with Joseph C. Greene as its leader. The drum was donated to the band by the First Light Infantry of Rhode Island in 1845. In 1853, the band was incorporated into the Second Brigade, Rhode Island Militia.
At the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, “the Band left for Washington, with an immense crowd witnessing their departure amid tremendous cheering. Each man gave his signature and voted to go irrespectful of compensation for their services.”
On July 21, 1861, the Band was present at the first major battle of the U.S. Civil War: The Battle of Bull Run. Band members helped care for and transport the wounded to safety. The drum was likely present at the battle. Being with the first unit to come under fire, the band quickly put down their instruments to act as stretcher bearers for the killed and wounded.
Military bands played an important role in the American Civil War. They kept troops in order on the march, intimidated the enemy in combat while simultaneously motivating their fellow soldiers to stay brave in the face of imminent danger.