Quite by chance I stumbled upon the published diary of a young Civil War drummer boy. Naturally, I was curious if other such accounts existed. I am happy to say that indeed other publications exist. Below you will find information about three such books. These books are in the public domain and I am making them available for download in PDF format. Links are also provided to the original online source where other formats are available. I’ve only just begun to read these and hope you look forward to reading them as much as I.
Since these accounts refer to specific dates and locations during the Civil War, you may want to brush up on your Civil War history. Here are some links to get you started:
The Civil War
Civil War Timeline
Civil War Timeline
Conklin’s Drum Beatings has been added to the Resources category. These are from “Col. H.C. Hart’s New and Improved Instructor for the Drum” by Col. H.C. Hart (1862) and includes “Conklin’s 2/4 Flam Tap Beat” and “Conklin’s 2/4 Stick Beat.” These were original drum beatings by Matthew Conklin, Drum Major of Dodworth’s Brass Band, and were included by Hart at the request of an unnamed individual(s).
Grenadier’s Quickstep from “Col. H.C. Hart’s New and Improved Instructor for the Drum“ by Col. H.C. Hart, 1862 has been added to the Resources section under Rudimental Solos. This download includes both the fife and drum part.
“Frog In the Well” is a Civil War tune based on the folk song “Froggie Went A-courting.” The tune first appeared in the 1611 publication “Melismata – Musicall Phansies Fitting the Court, Citie, and Countrey Humours, To 3, 4, and 5 Voyces.” The first line of the lyrics was: “Twas the Frog in the well… And the merry Mouse in the mill.” This version is from “Col. H.C. Hart’s New and Improved Instructor for the Drum” and includes both the fife and drum parts.
“Frog In the Well” – fife and drum
This photo was taken in July or August of 1863 at Morris Island, South Carolina. It depicts the practice of “drumming out” (dishonorably discharged) a soldier, always to the tune of “Rogue’s March.” Being drummed out consisted of having the head shaved, the uniform stripped of all buttons and insignia and then paraded in front of the remaining soldiers. In this photo, the man is wearing a sign which reads:
“THIEF. This man, Benj. F. Ditcher, 55th Mass. Vol’s, STOLE MONEY From A Wounded FRIEND.”
The "rogue's march" - drumming a thief out of camp
The tune “Rogue’s March” dates back to at least 1812, where it appears in “A New, Useful and Complete System of Drum Beating” by Charles Ashworth. In comparing 7 different manuals from 1812 – 1862, the music remained unaltered, with the exception of Bruce and Emmett’s version, in which the order was changed.
I have included the drum and fife parts for the “Rogue’s March” from Hart’s manual (1862). Special thanks to Will Chappell for his assistance in deciphering the drum part.
“Rogue’s March” – Fife and Drum Combined, Fife Only, Drum Only. (These will be added to the Resources page.)
A higher resolution of the above image is available from the Library of Congress.
This photo was taken between 1861 and 1865. It pictures three soldiers of the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry in camp with their drums. A higher resolution image is available for download at the Library of Congress website.
Three soldiers in camp with drums
Civil War re-enactors will find these manuals useful, as will rudimental drummers interested in our rudimental past.
“A New, Useful and Complete System of Drum Beating” by Charles Ashworth, 1812
“Col. H.C. Hart’s New and Improved Instructor for the Drum” by Col. H.C. Hart, 1862
“The Drummer’s and Fifer’s Guide” by George Bruce and Dan Emmett, 1862
These PDF’s were created from the images available at Fife & Drum Online.