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First "Old" Vermont Brigade

Brigade Band

Nelson Adams (U.S. General Land Office, Washington, D.C.),
Band Master The Vermont Brigade

On the 9th of August, 1862, under General Orders of the War Department, the Band of the Third Vermont regiment was disbanded at Harrison's Landing, Virginia, and returned to Vermont. In the following winter and spring I was in correspondence with Gen. (then Col.) Lewis A. Grant, commanding the The Vermont Brigade, relative to the organization of a band for his brigade. This resulted in the enlistment of the The Vermont Brigade Band. It was mustered into the United States service at Brattleboro, Vt., May 26, 1863. They immediately joined the brigade at White Oak Church (now Montrose, Va.), and after a few days in camp started on the Gettysburg campaign. the forced marches which followed during the summer left no time for practice, and as the members were not accustomed to that kind of life, the band became somewhat broken up. During the summer we accompanied the brigade to New York city after the draft riots, and here for a short time an opportunity for practice and recreation was allowed. Returning to the front we found the Sixth Army Corps at Stone Mountain, near Culpeper, Va., after a three days' march from Alexandria, and shortly after went into camp at Warrenton. Soon the battle of Rappahannock Station was fought, and afterwards we went into winter quarters near Brandy Station, after another battle at that place. During the wint of 1863-64 we accompanied the brigade on the "Mine Run expedition," and in the spring was with it through the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and Petersburg campaigns, as well as in the Shenandoah Valley under Sheridan. Late in the fall of 1864 we returned with the Sixth Army Corps to Petersburg, and were present at the battles of Petersburg and Sailor's Creek, the latter being the last engagement of the Old Vermont Brigade.

When Lee surrendered we were with the brigade at Farmville, Va., and here received information of the assassination of President Lincoln. At Burkeville, the Sixth Army Corps was ordered to Danville, Va., to form a junction with Sherman's Army, then moving north from Savannah. After a stay of about a month at Danville, the brigade was ordered to Richmond, and went by rail to Manchester, where, after a few days in camp, we marched to Washington via Fredericksburg.

At Washington we participated in the review of the Sixth Corps. On June 29, 1865, the Old Brigade Band was mustered out. Previous to leaving camp at Washington an agreement was made with the Second Vermont regiment to meet them at Burlington, Vt., on their return to that place, and in accordance with the same we met the regiment on their arrival and escorted them to City Hall. The following night we gave a concert in the City Hall, and therefore the last piece of the Old Brigade Band ever played was on that occasion.

In conclusion, I would say that from the time the band joined the brigade we were always present with them through all the battles and campaigns, and though at time badly broken up by sickness, the members were never in such a condition as to be absolutely unable to perform the duties devolving upon them, and I venture to say that the men of the Old Vermont Brigade will never forget how their band played "Old John Brown" when passing through Charleston during Sheridan's valley campaign.

Seven of the twenty members of the 1st Brigade Band had been in the subordinate regimental bands; two came from other regiments and the remaining first enlisted for the band.

Adams, Cyrus A.
Adams, Nelson D.
Barron, Porter P.
Bickford, Henry
Bowles, Laurin A
Bradley, Merritt Henry
Bryant, George E.
Clapp, Rollin M.
Clark, William Johnson
Earl, Norman W.
French, Lucien Whitney
Gibbs, Josiah H.
Perry, William A.
Putnam, Charles B.
Richardson, Warren W.
Roleau, Dorr A.
Roleau, John B.
Rose, Truman
Thomas, Joel B.
Warren, Charles Carlton
See also the Music Room in the Virtual Museum