Musicians: Calls and Tunes
Fifers, drummers, and buglers were crucial to regiments. Drummers kept the cadence during marches, and, along with fifers and buglers, played short calls that served as commands for soldiers.
Fifes were especially useful because they could be heard over the noise of battle.
Until a general order issued in August 1862 ended the practice, many regiments included brass bands, which played at ceremonial events and entertained troops with inspirational, popular, and patriotic music.
Even without the bands, music continued to be a part of the encampment experience, as soldiers played music and sang.
Daniel Skillings of Portland, who was 14 when he enlisted Co. C of the 30th Maine in September 1862, is the only person identified in this image of the regiment's Drum and Fife Corps.
Thomas K. Jones, a native of Boston who worked as a sign painter, joined the 11th Maine Band in 1861. At 41, he was the oldest of the band's 24 members. After bands were no longer supported by the army, he re-enlisted as private in Co. B of the 17th Maine, transferred to Co. H of the 17th, and finally to the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery before he mustered out in 1865.
Accord to an 1893 newspaper article, he was the only person in Portland who ever learned the "art of ringing chimes," which he did for Union Church starting in 1855.
Jones used the carpetbag during the war; his name and regiment are stenciled inside the flap.
Franklin C. Kimball of Portland used this drum from his enlistment in Co. F of the 5th Maine Infantry in June 1861 until he was mustered out three years later, in July 1864.
Kimball was not quite 17 when he enlisted.
Drummers sometimes were young boys, allowed to serve in this role so adults could be soldiers.
Musicians, including drummers, participated in battles as well, often assisting surgeons, but taking on other roles as needed.
Franklin C. Kimball used the folding utensils while he was in the 5th Maine.
The popular utensils provided a spoon, two-pronged fork, and knife in one easy-to-carry package.
William B. Adams of Raymond, who was 18 when he enlisted as a fifer in the 5th Maine in June 1861, wrote to his sister in September of that year, "I want you to send me a Fife Book … I want to practice a little and I lost mine when we went to Bulls Run."
He wrote later about other battles, indicating he was close to the action.
Sullivan K. Whiting of Rockland, a member of the Maine 4th Regiment Band wrote the music for "McClellan's Serenade" and Lt. Col. Frank S. Nickerson of Searsport, also of the Maine 4th Regiment, wrote the words. The quartet is dedicated "To the Union Army."
Among the words are "This hour of trial has learned us to love thee" and "Look, look to the south, see the despots uniting, To trample down rights our fathers decreed. Stand, stand to the right we'll continue the fighting. We'll press on the vict'ry where e'er you lead."
Some 14,000 men – with and without maritime experience – joined the Navy in Maine. Some were men from elsewhere, who enlisted while in port in Maine.
Unlike land-bound troops, recruited and formed into local regiments, sailors were federal troops.
The Union Navy was active along the East coast and Gulf coast, and on rivers from the Mississippi to the Roanoke. Union blockades worked to prevent Southern shipping, trading, or other actions that would benefit their war effort.
Union vessels also tried to stop Confederate raiders, which, in turn, hoped to destroy or capture Northern fishing and merchant vessels, and hurt Northern morale.
Naval actions were not limited to the shores of North America. An important Union victory -- the defeat of the Confederate Alabama by the Union Kearsarge -- took place off the coast of Cherbourg, France, in 1863 with Portland native Edward Ernest Preble aboard.
Midshipman Preble was the navigator aboard the Portsmouth-built U.S.S. Kearsarge.
Preble, later promoted to lieutenant commander, used some of his prize money from the victory to commission noted marine artist William E. Norton of Boston to paint the battle. A number of other artists also portrayed the scene.
Union forces captured another confederate warship in Bahia Harbor, Brazil.
As the war progressed, unclad wooden ships became passé. The new technology used in making iron clad ships forever changed naval warfare and Maine's wooden ship economy.
G. W. Lawrence shipbuilders of Portland built the Wassuc in 1864.
The single-turreted, twin-screw monitor had a shallow draft, making it suitable for bays, rivers and inlets during the Civil War.
Like like other Casco-class monitors, the vessel had such minimal freeboard that the Navy ordered the its deck to be raised 22 inches.
It never saw service during the war.
George Henry Preble (1816-1885), who was born in Portland, commanded the first American landing of armed forces in China in 1844.
He also served in the Mexican War.
Promoted to commander during the Civil War in 1862, Preble's career was threatened that year when he was relieved of his command for allegedly allowing a Confederate ship to break through the blockade of Mobile Bay.
James Alden, a native of Portland, spent his career at sea. He had participated in hydrographic surveys on the West Coast and for the U.S. Boundary Commission before the Civil War. During the war, he commanded ships involved in the Union blockade of the Gulf ports and, in 1864, led Adm. David Farragut's fleet at the Battle of Mobile Bay.
When he stopped his ship to clear mines that had just blown up another Union ship, Adm. David Farragut reportedly yelled at him, "Damn the torpedoes, four bells." "Four bells" meant "full speed ahead."
Alden received the presentation sword at the National Sailors Fair in Boston in 1864.
Preble pleaded his case to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and to President Abraham Lincoln, citing circumstances, the condition of his ship, and the superior qualities of the Confederate ship Oreto, later known as the Florida.
Preble also sought the help of fellow Portlander and military governor of Louisiana Brig. Gen. George F. Shepley.
Preble, the nephew of father of the U.S. Navy, Commodore Edward Preble, was cleared of the charges and his commission restored.
After retiring from service, Preble wrote extensively on the U.S. flag, and naval and Maine history.
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