Old South Military Antiques

Stonewall Brigade Drum
Item #: OS-7067

The drum shown below belonged to Company A, 5th Virginia Infantry, Stonewall Brigade, the "Marion Co. Virginia Rifles.” (Marion County is now in West Virginia.)

Drummers are often thought of merely as military bandmembers intended to entertain the troops, but they actually served a critical purpose on the battlefield. In the antebellum period drums were used both in camp and on the battlefield to convey orders. The drummers were required to learn dozens of drum calls, and the playing of each call would relay a different order to the soldiers.

In battle, drums were used to provide inspiration to soldiers, as well as communicate orders and direction to troops. Aware of the impact that patriotic music could have, officers often ordered their musicians to strike up a patriotic song to bolster the spirits and courage of their soldiers during battle. In perhaps the most famous instance, General George Pickett’s men stepped off on their fateful charge at Gettysburg to "The Bonnie Blue Flag.”

This continued from the beginning to the end of the War. At Dinwiddie Courthouse on March 31, 1865, Yankee war criminal Phillip Sheridan ordered his musicians to stand directly behind his men and play patriotic music. One band continually played "Hail Columbia” for the duration of General Fitzhugh Lee’s Confederate assaults. General Lee ordered his bands to play patriotic Southern airs such as "Dixie” and "The Bonnie Blue Flag” for the assaulting soldiers.

On the long and weary march, the drummer gave life to the fatigued men, as Confederate drummer boy Delavan Miller later wrote "for a marching column ther [sic] is nothing like martial music of the good ol fashioned kind.”

Drummers were often depicted by Civil War battlefield artists and by photographers. Battlefield artists, who accompanied the armies and made sketches which were used as the basis for artwork in illustrated newspapers, commonly included drummers in their work. The great American artist Winslow Homer, who had covered the war as a sketch artist, placed a drummer in his classic painting "Drum and Bugle Corps."

The Marion Rifles were organized in 1857-1858 in Frederick County, Virginia, under a local physician, Captain John H. S. Funk. The company was uniformed and achieved some public recognition. On July 4, 1859, at morning ceremonies held in front of the Winchester Court House, a flag was presented to the company by the ladies of Winchester, with drums and fife playing. Afterwards the company marched with flag flying and drums beating to a picnic to celebrate the July 4th holiday.

A few months later, during the fanatic John Brown’s murder spree in 1859, 56 of the Marion County Rifles were called into service by Virginia state authorities and spent six days in active service.

On the day after Virginia’s secession, the Rifles were accepted into the service of Virginia on April 18, 1861, and immediately marched to Harper’s Ferry, arriving on the 19th. In the coming weeks, they joined with other Virginia Militia companies to form the Fifth Regiment of Virginia Volunteer Infantry. The Fifth would later join with the 2nd, 4th, 27th, and 33rdVirginia Regiments to form the First Virginia Brigade under the command of Brigadier General Thomas J. Jackson.

The 5th first "saw the elephant” at Falling Waters, Berkeley County, Virginia where they had been ordered to proceed via the Martinsburg & Williamsport Turnpike, arriving on July 2, 1861, where they went into action at 9:00 the same morning.

After a heroic stand on Henry House Hill at the First Battle of Manassas, this organization would become forever known as the "Stonewall Brigade”, and was involved in almost every major engagement in the Eastern Theater of the War. There is every reason to believe that this drum participated in all of those same battles.

The drum is original and untouched in all regards with the exception of some portions of rope added for conservation purposes and is completely reversible. There is some distortion to the tension rings, as shown in the images.
It has an all over, natural untouched appeal.

While Federal drums are relatively common, of genuine Confederate drums there are just a few more than none.

Price $16,000.00 USD