It was a war between the north, or the Union, and the south, or the Confederacy over slavery. The Union had an army of nearly two million soldiers, while the south had approximately half because of their population differences. About 620,000 total soldiers died from combat, starvation, disease, or even accident.
The civil war was the bloodiest battle in the history of our country and resulted in the greatest number of casualties compared to any of American war. Soldiers who fought in the civil war witnessed and experienced countless sights of death and sorrow. In order for spirits to be raised and for them to be distracted from war, music was often played or sung. Music was however played and sung before the civil war; there were many singing schools and music institutes in the country.
American citizens had a great love for music; therefore, when the soldiers went to fight in the war, they took their love of music with them. TO help soldiers get though the five years of combat in the civil war, they played, sung, ND listened to music all throughout the day. Music helped to pass time – one soldier had written a letter to his wife saying that war was 99% boredom and 1% sheer terror. Every other soldier would probably agree with this statement, which is why they resorted to music.
Other reasons about the importance of music during the civil war was it entertained and comforted soldiers, it brought back memories of home and family, it strengthened bonds between companions and made new bonds between strangers, it helped soldiers forget how homesick they were, it raised roping spirits, it eased boredom, it was a distraction from the bloodshed, it was a way to express the feelings of the soldiers that they could not express with words, and it helped create a sense of national identity and unity for the Confederacy.
The more difficult the times during the war, the more they associated themselves with music. To add on, music was played when soldiers marched onto the battlefield, in camp, in trenches, in the guardhouse, and even during battle; armies marched to the heroic rhythms of drums and often of brass bands. Around camp there was usually a fiddler or guitarist or banjo player at work, and voices to sing the favorite songs of the era. Music was also played for the soldiers’ daily routines and calls.
To explain, it was played to awake the soldiers; they were awoken at five o’clock in the morning during summer and six o’clock in the morning during winter. Thirty minutes later, “Peas on a Trencher” was played to notify that it was time to eat breakfast. It was used for the sick call for ill soldiers and the guard mounting call at eight o’clock in the morning. It was then played again while the sergeant major inspected the soldiers and told them their specific duties for the day.