Hi Folks,I'm trying to do a bit of reading about musicians in battle, especially on their role in evacuating casualties to the field hospitals (such as they were). Does anyone have any pointers?Many thanks in advance
This is an excellent reference:
Although a somewhat later period, from: "Bully for the Band!": The Civil War Letters and Diary of Four Brothers in the 10th Vermont Infantry Band:
There is also much secondary mentioning of the use of musicians for bringing back wounded in the british army in the Crimea, until now no reliable primary sources.
Excuses me, can we please stay on topic - as on musicians acting as stretcher bearers, I would welcome good information on that topic, for that reason I also agree that drummers were as such not that important in battle, where their tactical role was limited and for that reason, seemingly in the British army they were seen as reserve to be employed as first aid - which I still find difficult to see how this would work in practise.
Given the limited role of a drummer during an engagement, in the face of the enemy a drummer was perhaps more easily spared than a man with musket and bayonet.
And have also found a bit in the Regimental Companion from 1811: 'In battle, the drummers are to assist the wounded men of their respective companies.'
The Duke of York did order NCOs, drummers and bandsmen to carry the Williams Field Torniquet, which might imply some medical role for the band? https://history.rcplondon.ac.uk/inspiring-physicians/william-henry-williams
Also they are mentioned on pp.38-39 of Wellington's Doctor's by Martin Howard.
I am not sure you are looking for French accounts, but this is a memoir by a French musician I found on google books and he describes his position in battles. https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=eblCAAAAYAAJ
Les CampaignesD'UN Musicien d'État - Major PENDANT LA RÉPUBLIQUE ET L'EMPIRE 1791-1810 PHILIPPE - RENÉ GIRAULT
EX - MUSICIEN D'ÉTAT - MAJOR AU RÉGIMENT DE PENCHE , AU 66 BATAILLON DE LA HAUTE - SAÔNE , AU 5 € HUSSARDS , AU 93 ° DE LIGNE
Not sure how much this really happened. I cannot recall a bandsman describing doing so in any Nap war memoir. Very few bandmembers appear to have written memoirs.