Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


This study examined the history of the regimental bands of Minnesota during the Civil War. The purpose of this study was to trace the growth of military music performance and literature as it pertained to regimental bands of Minnesota.

Using the historical method, this study concerned itself primarily with answering the following questions:

1. Were bandsmen recruited as trained musicians or were they trained after induction?

2. Why did some military units form bands, while others functioned with only drums, bugles and fifes?

3. What was the instrumentation and uniform style of these bands?

4. What criteria was used in the selection of music played?

5. What selections were chosen?

6. Was the music of the military an integral part of the general culture of Minnesota?

In investigating the above questions it was necessary to delve into several related problems:

1. What influence did the parochial attitudes of the states have upon the growth of the regimental bands?

2. How did the level of musical awareness and literacy in Minnesota affect the regimental bands of the state?

3. The wind band has had an evolutionary history of its own. What point in this development had been reached in Minnesota by the year 1961?

4. What were the musical traditions of the United States Army in 1860?

5. Were Minnesotans aware of these traditions?

6. How did the attitudes of officers and politicians relate to the history of the regimental bands?

7. Did the demand for trained musicians eventually exceed the supply?

8. Was it more effective to train musicians to be soldiers, or to train soldiers to be musicians?

Design and Method: The data were collected by investigation and analysis of diaries, manuscripts, letters, newspapers, and government documents written in the United States between 1849 and 1900. Regimental and political histories of the era were used for general information. The search for relevant data was limited to materials available in libraries and historical societies in Minnesota and North Dakota or in private collections in the Midwest.

Findings: 1. Civilian bandsmen were recruited as trained musicians during 1861. After October 1861 the regimenta trained their own musicians.

2. The type of music used by a Minnesota regiment was determined by the personal preference of the officers and the amount of money available for music and instruments.

3. The Minnesota regimental bands used brass and percussion instruments exclusively. The exact instrumentation vrared considerably from unit to unit. The Minnesota musicians wore the same uniforms as the enlisted men of their regiment.

4. The governing criteria in the selection of music seemed to be appropriateness, popularity, difficulty and availability.

5. The Minnesota bands played popular ballads, marches, patriotic tunes and army standards (taps, dead marches, etc.).

6. The music of the military was a part of the general culture of Minnesota, but it did not obviate the need for civilian bands.

Recommendations: The investigation of this topic suggested the need for several related studies. A similar study of another geographic area should produce further understanding of the American Civil War and its music. The brigade and division bands could also be investigated. An in-depth study of other types of music in Minnesota and in the armies at this time would contribute to our understanding of this transitional era of American cultural history. The singing societies of the Midwest, the drummer boys of the Civil War, the fife corps and the bugle corps of the armies of the North and South, the traveling entertainers of the United States, and the music of the various religious groups of this era would all provide fertile topics for further investigation.