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View Full Version : American Civil War Pipers!!!!


the old marshal
10-17-2005, 01:29 AM
Any of my good friends out there have any info on pipers playing during the Civil War,2 Alabama,79 New York Highlanders....must have had the music of the Highlands!!?

Tartaniac
10-17-2005, 04:44 AM
Check out the re-enactment groups. I've seen them with the Civil War Re-enactors. Try to google for that.

Rick
10-17-2005, 05:03 AM
My instructor was a member of a reenactment group for the 79th. He tells me that there is no record of pipes on the battlefield, but there are a few letters written by soldiers that mention someone playing pipes in camp. Whether they were GHB, or small pipes of some type isn't specified. If I remember our conversation correctly, there was at least one instance of pipes being played with a fiddle, so I would think smallpipes

Kevin F. Gilstrap
10-17-2005, 01:11 PM
Originally posted by Rick:
My instructor was a member of a reenactment group for the 79th. He tells me that there is no record of pipes on the battlefield, but there are a few letters written by soldiers that mention someone playing pipes in camp. Whether they were GHB, or small pipes of some type isn't specified. If I remember our conversation correctly, there was at least one instance of pipes being played with a fiddle, so I would think smallpipes But is it possible that it was none of the above??? :shrug: During the American Civil War, the soldiers, mostly, had to carry their own stuff wherever they went, usually very long distances. I find it hard to imagine your average infantryman lugging around a set of pipes, be the smallpipes or any other bagpipe. On the other hand, I've heard "fifes" being referred to as a "pipe". Makes me wonder.


http://members.cox.net/trm/CornJohn.htm


"1843: The funeral of John Peter was conducted under Army regulations.

Both the Cavalry and the Infantry took part. They then stepped forward with drum, pipe and bugle as the Infantry marched to the grave site, half on one side and half on the other. They then all fired blank shots into the empty grave."

Airborne92
10-17-2005, 01:52 PM
There were baggage trains (read wagons) that moved with or behind the troops. Supplies, the regimental mess silver, officers' tents and personal belongings, etc. as well as the instruments for the regimental band were loaded. I can easily see a wagoneer watching out for someone's pipes, probably for a fee.

SCK

Mike S
10-17-2005, 03:08 PM
As an accurate, "Hardcore" WBTS reenactor as well as a piper, I can state with authority that the two have no place together. You will be cat called off of any authentic living history event if you show up in piper's regalia and with pipes in hand. It is one of the most farby things one can venture into. Their were many Scots (and of course Irish) and Scots volunteer Regiments and pre war militias on both sides , but VERY few accounts of pipes/pipers being present on campaign throughout the length of the war.
The best WBTS site on the web is: http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/
History is taken seriously there, so I'd advise not opening that can of worms there.

The Sasquatch
10-17-2005, 04:24 PM
I know the bagpipes have been a very popular instruments on battlefields and during times of war because they couse rouse moral from all the troops. A canadian piper from the first world was was awarded the Victoria Cross (Commonwealth'S highest decoration) for playing in the trenches stirring morale from all the troops as they headed over the trench into no man's land.

I know bagpipes were used on the Plains of Abraham in 1759, however that battle was fought in Canada. I am not too sure if they were used in the Civil War.

jcsayre
10-17-2005, 06:22 PM
GHB can certainly be played with a fiddle. I did so once at the Alamo. The fiddler followed me as I could not hear him at all. My wife and other spectators said they could hear both instruments fine.
My G-G-G-Grandfather played pipes. He lived in Alabama and according to family legend the pipes were burned in 1861(or 1862-dates were vague) when his house was fired by Nathan Bedford Forrest's troops in retaliation for his outspoken Union sentiment. (Approxiamtely 220,000 southern white males served in the Union Army during the Civil War.) Grandpa's pipes apparently weren't played during the war and I am unaware of any documented instances of pipes being played on the battle field.

denny
10-17-2005, 07:55 PM
I know that I have read, in an artical in Military History Magazine that was about the dumb things done by both sides early in the war, that the union Irish Brigade had pipers at First Manassas at the begining of the day. Why I remember it is that the writer commented on the stupidity of posting the pipers in front of the brigade as it advanced, causing the death of most of the pipers shortly after the brigade came under fire.

denny
10-17-2005, 07:58 PM
I remember reading in an article in Military History magazine that the Irish Brigade had a lot of pipers at First Manassas and posted them in front of the brigade as it advanced. It cost them most of the pipers almost as soon as they came under fire.

pancelticpiper
10-17-2005, 08:00 PM
Ditto Mike S's statements. I have been interested in the 79th New York for years, and have read a lot about them. Seemingly they had no pipers or pipe band themselves, but on occasion used pipers from New York's Caledonian Society for functions. However, there is an intruiging photo of the 79th New York parading in New York City in 1860 which shows three men in front of the regiment which could be interpreted as pipers carrying their pipes in "pipes down" position. These men are wearing, as best one can tell, the same uniform as the rest (but with three rows of buttons on their tunics, a common period distinction) which would rule out their being civilian pipers from the Caledonian Society. It is possible, though, that they are officers carrying "claymores". I have examined the photo very carefully and think that they are indeed pipers. In any case there is no evidence of the 79th NY wearing kilts in action or having pipers during the war (the regiment was raised before the Civil War and continued for a time afterward). The deeds of pipers in Scottish regiments has no relevance whatever to the American Civil War.

denny
10-17-2005, 08:01 PM
I remember reading in an article in Military History magazine that the Irish Brigade had a lot of pipers at First Manassas and posted them in front of the brigade as it advanced. It cost them most of the pipers almost as soon as they came under fire.

pancelticpiper
10-17-2005, 08:07 PM
"Irish" pipers playing with the Irish Brigade? This idea is a complete anachronism. The Irish pipes are the uilleann pipes- try marching with those. The "Irish warpipe" was extinct long before the ACW, and the appropriation of the Highland bagpipe as a pseudo-Irish instrument dates to the early 20th century. The idea of people marching around in kilts playing Highland pipes but calling themselves "Irish" is 20th century B.S. with no basis in history or reality.