Civil War Band Collection: 1st Brigade Band of Brodhead, Wisconsin
During the winter of 1856-57, the Brodhead Tin Band was formed, named after the rough tin horns on which they played. Their first professional performance in 1857 was for a political gathering in Beloit following which its founders Oscar KIMBERLY, George T. SPAULDING, and Charlie STONE purchased a set of good brass instruments and had a band wagon built to transport the group to its various engagements. In 1858, they were invited to play in Freeport, Illinois, for the second Lincoln-Douglas debate on slavery. When the Civil War began, the band members enlisted and became the 3rd Wisconsin Band. Declining morale in the face of military defeats lead the men to return home when their commissions expired but in 1864, eighteen members re-enlisted becoming the 1st Brigade Band, 3rd Division, 15th Army Corps, under General William F. Sherman. The musical legacy of the 1st Brigade Band presented here consists of a set of twelve, leather-bound partbooks and seven envelopes of other music manuscripts. Most of the pieces contained in this collection are identified as quicksteps, a type of music for dancing and many are arrangements of well-known songs.