Members of the Original 1st Nebraska Regiment Band

The 1st Nebraska Volunteer Infantry Regiment was officially mustered-in on June 11, 1861 at Omaha under the command of Colonel John Milton Thayer. Andreas’ History of the State of Nebraska lists the following members of the Regimental Band:

REGIMENTAL BAND

Leader Joseph Brown, age 25, res. Omaha, e. and mus. June 11, 1861.

Musician Francis Brown, age 24, res. Omaha, e. and mus. June 11, 1861.

Musician William Achter, age 30, res. Omaha, e. and mus. June 11, ’61.

Musician Emil Burmester, age 24, res. Omaha, e. and mus. June 11, ’61.

Musician Fred Bimmerman, age 25, res. Omaha, e. and mus. June 11, 1861.

Musician Fred Boehm, age 18, res. Omaha, e. and mus. June 11, 1861.

Musician Gustavus Eberdt, age 20, res. Omaha, e. and mus. June 11, ’61.

Musician Ben Hempil, age 36, res. Plattsmouth, e. and mus. June 11, ’61.

Musician Fred Rendelman, age 27, res. Omaha, e. and mus. June l l, ’61.

Musician Augustus Saltzman, age 19, res. Omaha, e. and mus. June 11, 1861.

Musician Englebert Wagner, age 30, res. Omaha, e. and mus. June 11, 1861.

Musician William Wagner, age 28, res. Omaha, e. and mus. June 11, ’61.

Musician Andrew Frank, age 29, res. Omaha, e. and mus. June 11, 1861.

The regiment had been gathering soldiers at Omaha to complete their numbers since May 1861, so the official records lists residences as Omaha. But, in fact, William Achter was from Muscatine, Iowa, and The Wagner brothers were from St. Joseph, Missouri.

Since each regiment was authorized its own band of up to 24 members, the Army was spending something like six million dollars a year on pay and benefits. So, in order to lower non-combatant expenditures, Gen. Henry Halleck, Army Chief of Staff, issued an order to army commanders to muster out all regimental bands. The 1st Nebraska Regiment Band was mustered-out on Aug. 18, 1862, in compliance with Special Order, Nov. 206, Headquarters Army of the Southwest, Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis commanding.

Shortly thereafter, several bands re-enlisted as Brigade Bands. However, the musicians in the 1st Nebraska chose to return to civilian life.

Mockingbird Quickstep

Septimus Winner (1827-1902) came from a musical family in that his father was a violin maker and his brother, Joseph, was also a composer (The Little Brown Jug). Septimus was a storekeeper and music teacher in Philadelphia where he would hear “Whistlin’ Dick” Milburn, a black boy, serenading people in the street with his guitar and bird-like warbling. Winner used one of Dick’s melodies for Mockingbird and gave him prominent credit on the published music. He published it under his mother’s name, Alice Hawthorne. He also gave Dick a job in the store. Lacking foresight, Winner sold the rights to the song for $5.00 after slow initial sales. The song sold 20 million  copies over the next 50 years.