Balloon Polka

    1850s, Anton Wallerstein (1813 – 1892) [26th NC, C.S.A. Band Books]

        With the subtitle “L'Aeronaute,” this polka celebrates the advances in Montgolfière’s design, including military uses and the long distance record of 800 miles (1859, USA). Wallerstein composed the music to the “Jenny Lind Polka,” whose dance-step was created by Allen Dodworth, and published in Elias Howe’s dance manual. Due to the dance’s popularity, Dodworth is often, erroneously credited with the composition.


The Battle Cry of Freedom

    1862 George Frederick Root  (1820 – 1895)   [piano: Root & Cady]

         Root was already a leading music educator and editor when he joined his brother and Chauncey Cady at their publishing firm and began producing some of the most memorable songs of the 1800's. This rallying song sparked great fervor and spurred-on many men in battle, North and South. As with most popular songs, words were often altered to fit the singer, so that a powerful pro-Union song could be sung with as much zeal by any Confederate sympathizer. In his biography, Root claims to have been inspired by Lincoln's second call for troops and wrote the words and music in only a few hours and performed it at a huge rally on July 24, 1862 with the ink barely dry.


Battle Cry & Kingdom Coming Quickstep
  1864, George F. Root & Henry C. Work (1832 – 1884) [1st Brigade Band Books]

         This arrangement is from the books of the 1st Brigade Band of Brodhead, Wisconsin. This unit organized as the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry Regt. Band in 1861 but was decommissioned by the Federal government in 1862 in an effort to curb costs. The band re-organized in early 1864 as the 1st Brigade Band, 3rd Division, 15th Army Corps. This was Gen. Sherman's Division and the band accompanied him on his “march to the sea.” Their first assignment was in Huntsville, Alabama (this writer's home). The band was on furlough during Sherman's burning of Atlanta, but rejoined the Division shortly thereafter. Root's “Battle Cry” was the definitive rally song for the Union and though the phrase “rally 'round the flag” appears in the song it should not be confused with another popular song: “Rally 'Round the Flag.” “Kingdom Coming” is a delightful comic song describing the sudden disappearance of the master everyone called “Cap'n” and the changes on the plantation after the threat of Union occupation. 


Kingdom Coming (Year of Jubilo), 1862, Henry Clay Work  (1832 – 1884)  [piano:  Root & Cady]

        Publisher George Root recognized a masterpiece when he saw it and set out some of the most elaborate promotion this song, culminating with the introduction by Christy's Minstrels prior to its release. The song's success was immediate and overwhelming. Though Work had never witnessed first-hand the slavery situation in the South, he was familiar as his father was active in the Underground Railroad and their home was a “station.” Despite its view, the song was extremely popular in the South. When Blackmar published the song in Augusta, the cover boasted “As Sung by the First Tennessee Opera Troupe,” which was actually the company’s glee club. The song was reportedly sung by Negro troops as they marched into Richmond April 3, 1865.


Battle Hymn Q.S
  [25th Mass Band Books]
       A rousing introduction and theme, that almost buries the title tune, is no match for the simple statement of William Steffe's inspirational melody. The composer of the opening (probably the arranger) is unknown.  See also: Glory! Hallelujah! (Selections from Original Piano Music).

        When the Civil War broke out there was no great national hymn, generally accepted as such. This need of a new national hymn to meet the new and existing conditions, one that would be the great peace song, yet the war song of the nation was deeply felt at the very beginning of the war. At the request of many prominent Union men, a committee, composed of scholars and statesmen was appointed to select such a hymn for the use of the homes in the north and the army in the field. The committee waited three months for such a song. Twelve hundred competitors presented their compositions for the prize of $250 for the music and $250 for the words; but not one of them was accepted. The committee found that there was no soul-feeling,  no fire of patriotism, running through the songs. Of all the twelve hundred songs composed in 1861 in competition for the prize of  $500 -- not one is alive today!

        But Julia Ward Howe, then not widely known as a poet, had visited the Army of the Potomac, and there she saw the commotion of war, the bodies shattered, the lives sacrificed, and the stress and agony of the government in its mortal grapple with rebellion. These things lay heavy on her heart, which throbbed in unison with the great heart of the nation; an one night in December, in 1861, she sprang from her bed and wrote the expression of her soul in these words of living power. When she returned to Boston she showed them to James T. Fields, then editor of the Atlantic Monthly. He suggested the title, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”; and published them promptly. In the Atlantic Monthly for February 1862, the poem is printed on the first page, but the name of the author is not mentioned; indeed, no names are appended to the table of contents. 

(Notes from Bill Warren)


Battle of Inkerman Q.S.

    1858, E. Marie / G.W. Ingalls  [3rd NH  “Port Royal” Band Books]

        On November 5, 1854, the combined efforts of English and French forces defeated a much larger Russian army, in this major battle of the Crimean War. Both sides lost about 1/3 of their men, but the Russian army was at least twice that of the allies.


Be Kind To the Loved Ones At Home

    1847, Isaac Baker Woodbury (1819 – 1858)   [26th NC, C.S.A. Band Books]

        As a composer of hymns, Isaac B. Woodbury could proudly say more of his hymns were being sung than any by his contemporaries during his lifetime. One can occasionally find some of his hymns in present-day hymnals though they are becoming more rare. One can still find his tune “SELENA” coupled with Charles Wesley's “O Love Divine, What Hast Thou Done.”


Belisario Q.S. 

    18--, Gaetano Donizetti / C.S. Grafulla  [3rd NH  “Port Royal” Band Books]

        An opera in the style of classical Greek tragedy, Belisario is a loyal general of the Byzantine Empire, so much so, that following a dream that his own son would lead a revolt against the empire, he orders his servant to kill the child. Years later, on his deathbed, the servant confesses the deed to Belisario’s wife, but tells her that though he spared the child, he abandoned him on the seashore. Seeking revenge on her husband, she forges treasonous letters and places them with his papers. Convicted of treason and murder, he is blinded and sent into exile. A former prisoner whom Belisario had freed, takes care of him, and sets out to avenge his emancipator by organizing a rebellion. Somehow, the two discover they are father and presumed-dead son. Together they save Byzantium, but Belisario receives a fatal wound. His wife grieves over her betrayal in a series of highly dramatic arias.


Ben Bolt Q.S.   

    1846, Nelson Kneass (1823 – 1868)  [4th NH, Manchester Cornet Band Books]

        Dr Thomas Dunn English (1819 – 1902) wrote this “sea poem” at the request of N.P. Willis, editor of the New York Mirror. He also wrote the first musical setting. English was not paid for his poem and grew to resent its enormous popularity compared to his other “more important” works. He was besieged with requests for autographs and locks of hair and was repulsed by the fact a sailing ship, steamboat, and race horse were given the name Ben Bolt. He was quoted as saying, “The ship was wrecked, the steamboat blew up, and the horse never won a race.”

        Shortly after the poem was published, other composers began setting it to music, including:  Dominick May, James W. Stewart and R. Sinclair; however, the most popular melody was written by Nelson Kneass, who claimed he adapted an Old German tune. This is probably another reason why English was so upset. When W.C. Peters published Kneass’ version, he decided to soften some of the lyrics, for they seemed harsh and offensive. One line “where the children used to swim,” was replaced with “where we gathered the flowers” for fear of being indelicate. By 1848 it was in its 15th edition.

        The song’s immense popularity was heightened by its use in George DuMaurier’s 1894 novel, “Trilby,” where the young diva Trilby O’Ferrall, hypnotized by Svengali, is forever singing the song. The song reminds Ben of his true love, Alice, who now sleeps beneath the gray granite stone.

        Although Ben Bolt is the title track, the tune doesn’t appear until the Trio. The quickstep is actually a medley, with the first selection being Frederick Romer’s O Would I Were A Boy Again.


Bigelow's Quick Step   

    1839,  John Holloway    [piano,  Henry Prentiss, 1839]

        John Holloway is best known for his “Wood - Up! Quickstep.” This one is dedicated to Captain George Tiler Bigelow, commander of the New England Guards and is based on the version performed by the Boston Brass Band.


Big Thunder Q.S.   

    1886, Claudio Grafulla  (1810 – 1880)  [Brophy Bros.]


Birthday Q.S.

    [1st Brigade Band Books]


Bivouac Q.S. 

    [25th Mass Regt. Band Books]


Bob-Tail Horse Q.S.   

    early 1850's,  Stephen C. Foster  (1826-1864)     [Manchester Cornet Band Books]

        David C. Hall worked in the Boston area as a freelance musician, playing in many of the most prominent orchestras and dance bands, and is responsible for this medley arrangement. He was well known as a keyed bugle and cornet player as well as an instrument manufacturer. He led the famed Boston Brass Band for a short period. The quickstep includes the Stephen Foster songs “Camptown Races” and “Nelly Bly.”


Bold Sojer Boy

    ?, Samuel Lover / E.O. Eaton


Bolero from Sicilian Vespers & Aria from Traviata

    ?, Giuseppi Verdi  (#58) [25th Mass Regt. Band Books]



Bonnie Blue Flag

    1861, Harry Macarthy (18341888) tune: by Valentine Vousden [Squire's Cornet Band Olio, Set #1 1871]

        The first recorded use of the lone star flag dates to September 11, 1810, when a troop of West Florida dragoons, tired of Spanish repression, set out for the provincial capitol at Baton Rouge under this flag. They were joined by other republican forces and captured Baton Rouge, imprisoned the Governor and on September 23, 1810 raised their Bonnie Blue flag over Fort Baton Rouge. Three days later the president of the West Florida Convention, signed a Declaration of Independence and the flag became the emblem of the new republic. By December 10, the flag of the United States replaced the Bonnie Blue after President Madison issued a proclamation declaring West Florida under the jurisdiction of the Governor of the Louisiana Territory. With this rebellion in mind, the Republic of Texas used the flag from 1836 to 1839. The Confederate government did not adopt this flag, but the people did and the lone star flags were adopted in some form in five of the southern states that adopted new flags in 1861.

        On January 9, 1861 the convention of the People of Mississippi adopted an Ordinance of Secession. With this announcement the Bonnie Blue flag was raised over the capitol building in Jackson. Harry Macarthy, the English born “Arkansas Comedian,” was so inspired that he wrote the first couple of verses to The Bonnie Blue Flag, which was to become the second most popular patriotic song of the Confederacy. After the sales of his published broadside exceeded expectations, Macarthy sold the rights to A.E. Blackmar for $500 and a piano. He set his lyric to an original tune by Vousden, called The Irish Jaunting Car, which should not be confused with another of a similar name, The Low-Backed Jaunting Car.

        Macarthy continued to sing his song during his “Personation Concerts,” adding new verses to describe the parade of secession, as each State became part of the Confederacy. Eventually, he added words to encourage Missouri and Kentucky to join. The song, and its presentation, was so powerful, it caused a riot at New Orleans’ Academy of Music. Macarthy strode to center stage, wearing a Confederate officer’s uniform, and began singing. Before reaching the chorus, his beautiful wife, Lottie Estelle, ran onstage waving a blue silk flag with a single white star. She threw her arms around his neck and he sang the resounding chorus. The audience sprang to its feet and cheered loudly. Macarthy would have to wait for them to quiet down before he could continue. Then, as each chorus came around, the crowd would join in and cheer louder than before. Col. Frank Terry’s Texas Rangers were in attendance, and one soldier, unable to control his emotions, could not stop cheering. When a policeman tried to remove him, the Texans were outraged and a mêlée ensued. Additional policemen joined in until the Mayor and Col. Terry put an end to it. But it was too late, the impact of this bold song of defiance, was deeply set in the minds of every Southerner.

        Macarthy has been compared to Bob Hope, in that he spent a great deal of time entertaining troops in the field, and was universally loved, partly because of his enormous humanitarian efforts. Macarthy routinely turned over his concert proceeds to charitable funds.

Knowing the song’s power, Gen. Benjamin Butler, U.S.A. levied a fine of $25 for anyone caught singing, playing or whistling the song during his occupation of New Orleans, in 1862, He then ordered the publisher, A.E. Blackmar, arrested, fined $500 and all copies destroyed. However, in March 1864, while in town, performing Richard III and Macbeth, a defiant John Wilkes Booth took a dare from friends, that he would walk the streets singing the song. When several Union soldiers drew their weapons to stop him, he talked his way out of arrest by mentioning he was not a resident and did not know of the law. Perhaps his celebrity status also aided his situation, but one cannot help but think if things would have be different, had be been jailed for an extended period.

        Compiled from ­Singing The New Nation, by E.L. Abel


Bonnie Eloise Q.S.  

    1858, John Rogers Thomas (1829 – 1896)     [26th NC, C.S.A. Band Books]

        Also titled “The Belle of the Mohawk Vale,” this selection was arranged by Charles Siegel, who played Bass in the 14th South Carolina Regt. Band. The aggressive triplet introduction gives way to a wonderful tune, probably Siegel's, before stating the title theme in the trio. A strong Coda brings this fine “concert” quickstep to a close. The words of G.W. Elliott speak of the fair blue-eyed Bonny Eloise, the belle of the Mohawk Vale.


Bonnie Jean Q.S. 
  1856, Charles Osborne  [1st Brigade Band Books]

        All original sheet music show the title as Bonny Jean. Two different tunes and lyric sets have been found; however, The Osborne version is correct here. With lyrics written by George Linley, several editions were released.


Boston Brass Band's Q.S. 

    185-, Charles Zeuner  (1795 – 1857)   [piano: Parker & Ditson]

        This selection is taken from Zeuner's opera: “La Dieu et La Bayadere.”


Bright Hopes  Q.S.  

    18--, ?    [19th Battalion Virginia Heavy Artillery Band Books]


Brin D'Amour Polka  

    18--,  Dalmais   [Stratton Military Band Journal]

        This composition was published in series 1 of the (John F.) Stratton Military Band Journal in the 1860s.  John F. Stratton is best remembered as the first manufacturer of quality mass-produced brass band instruments in America around 1862.  In addition to this venture, he also went into the business of music publishing.


Brooklyn Heights

    18--, David L. Downing   [4th NH, Manchester Cornet Band Books]


Buffalo Polka

    1850, Thomas Cook   [piano: J. Sage & Son]

        “Composer and respectfully dedicated to Miss Mary A. Carr.”


Buffalo Schottische

    1851, Edward Gleffer   [piano: Firth & Pond & Co.]

        Dedicated to “The Ladies of Buffalo, N.Y.”