Olde Towne Brass
4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Band
1. H.R. Marcyes 4. John Frank 7. George W. Reinhoel 10. John Bursley
2. W. S. Kimball 5. John W. Moore 8. Charles Helberg 11. Jacob Niebles
3. O.H. Wiley 6. Washington Muzzy 9. Frederick Bracklesberg 12. Edward A. Whitcomb
Picture taken in Twickenham, Huntsville, Alabama, 1864
In his 1892 book History Of The Fourth Regiment of Minnesota Infantry Volunteers During The Great Rebellion, 1861-1865, Alonzo Leighton Brown (Captain: B Company), mentioned the regimental band frequently, and with great pride.
The band was composed of enlisted men detailed from the different companies of the regiment. It was brigade band, First Brigade, Third Division, for nine months, was in all engagements with the regiment and in many instances with guns in ranks, etc. It received special mention from Generals Logan and Sherman for gallant service performed at Allatoona, GA (5 Oct. 1864).
1862 April 20th — Sunday. — Six companies left Port Snelling [MN] on the steamboat Sucker State for St. Louis, Mo. The boat stopped a short time at St. Paul. The people lined the bluff, the ladies waved their handkerchiefs and the men cheered as the boat swung down the river, the band playing “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” We have a splendid band, and often during our service their music revived our spirits and gave us courage to push on over dusty roads on long marches when just ready to drop down and give up.
May 13th—Tuesday.—We passed Pittsburgh Landing [Shiloh] at twelve o'clock. The steamboats Glendale and Silver Moon have steam calliopes, which play the tunes "Dixie'' and, "The Girl I Left Behind Me."
May 14th — Wednesday. — Arrived at Hamburgh Landing, Tenn., early in the morning.
At dress parade the band played "Home, Sweet Home," and it is safe to say that there were not many dry eyes in the regiment.
The 4th MN stayed in the Mississippi campaign, through the Siege of Vicksburg, marching into the city on 4 July, 1863, wearing new uniforms, flying colors and bands playing. After remaining on guard duty for 2 month, the 4th went to Memphis and then traversed northern Alabama and southern Tennessee to participate in the Battles of Chattanooga. Afterwards the 4th spent January – June 1864 stationed in and around Huntsville, AL before embarking on Gen. Sherman’s Atlanta campaign.
December 25th — Sunday and Christmas. — [Savannah, GA ]The officers of the Fourth had a Christmas dinner at 2:00 p. m. Morrill went up to General Smith's headquarters to supper. Had oysters raw, stewed, and also oyster pie and some good brandy. The Fourth Minnesota Band serenaded Generals Sherman and O.O. Howard at daylight and sunrise this morning.
March 14th — Tuesday [Fayetteville, SC] This is a pleasant day and one to be enjoyed after our terrible experience in mud and rain. This is a beautiful town, and seems to be the Huntsville of North Carolina — an old, aristocratic place. The reunion and jollification of the Second Minnesota Brass Band with the Fourth Minnesota Band this evening was an occasion of much enjoyment. The bands played together and had a gay old time, talking of their experience and drinking some fine old applejack that the Second boys had picked up somewhere.
Near Goldsboro, NC April 26, 1865
Capt. D. L. Wellman, in the chair, addressed the meeting: "Gentlemen, we have come together for the purpose of talking the matter over of buying our regimental band new instruments. We will now be stationed somewhere." Lieutenant Janicke: "A German cannot soldier without good music; I give fifty dollars." All [officers] were willing to give twenty-five dollars, thirty dollars and fifty dollars. Colonel Tourtellotte has offered one hundred dollars. The meeting passed the following: Resolved, That we will buy our band a complete set of new German-silver instruments, and make them a present of them," and then adjourned. The instruments were not purchased until the regiment arrived at Louisville, Ky.
The Grande Review, May 24, 1865
The 4th MN, now attached to the First Brigade, 1st Division, 15th Corps is selected to lead the troops in the Grand Review of 65,000 soldiers.
Near Louisville, KY June 16, 1865.
While at this camp the regiment sent Capt. L. K. Wellman of Company T, at that time acting as major (he mustered in soon after), with some of the band to Cincinnati, who purchased a set of German-silver instruments for their use, their second set of brass ones having given out.
The band received their new instruments on June 28 and performed with them until they were mustered out, at which time the instrument became their possessions.
Band Leader Hiram R. Marcyes continued his musical career following the war. His “Black Hills Waltz” was published in 1877, and can be found in the Library of Congress archives.