This article was originally published on the Americans for the Arts website — by Mr. Randy I. Cohen on Dec 06, 2019.
157 years ago next week, the Battle of Fredericksburg took place—one of the bloodiest of the Civil War to that point. Following the battle, the giant Union and Confederate armies were camped mere shouting distance from each other, separated only by the Rappahannock River in Virginia.
On a cold and wet evening, with both armies hunkered down and tending to their wounds, a band in the Union camp struck up a patriotic tune in hopes of lifting their side’s spirits. The Union soldiers cheered in appreciation. Not to be outdone, the Confederate band across the river then played their own patriotic tune—and the “Battle of the Bands” was on. Back and forth it continued, with each army whooping and cheering loudly for their band.