Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Regimental and post bands were an integral part of the United States Army in the trans -Mississippi West during the second half of the nineteenth century. These bands served to provide music both for ceremonial occasions and to entertain the general public. As such they were of inestimable value in fostering good relations with the civilians in the regions surrounding the various posts were they were stationed. Although the United States Congress officially recognized bands and permitted each regiment to support one, in most cases Congress did nothing to foster the musical development of bands itself. As a consequence, bands were somewhat limited in matters of personnel, finances, and housing causing some to suffer immense hardships. Those bands which were fortunate enough to belong to a regiment which had enough money to support them adequately often became excellent musical organizations, some of which could compare favorably with large Eastern musical groups such as the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the various civilian bands which flourished during the period. Among the better- known bands were those of the Fourth, Fifth, and Seventh Cavalry and the Eighteenth Infantry Regiments. These bands were of excellent quality and were a credit to their respective regiments. According to accounts in many newspapers, these bands were appreciated both by the Army and by the civilian sector of the populace. Unfortunately, most historians of the Frontier Army have neglected bands and their contributions to life in the Frontier Army. Consequently, little is known of bands activities in the West, an oversight which this paper seeks to correct.


Leo E. Oliva

Date of Award

Summer 1978

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1978 Thomas Clyde Railsback


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