5th Michigan Regiment Band
The 5th Michigan Regiment Band brings history of the Civil War Era alive through an authentic historical recreation of a Civil War Regimental Band. The band performs at re-enactments, historical events, parades, and school programs. The band's repertoire of pre-1865 compositions is performed on antique and replica sax horns and wood rope tension drums. Performances include music, instruments, attire, flags, and customs of the era.
The 5th Michigan Regiment Band was once known as the 5th Michigan Infantry Band. For 108 years, from 1865 – 1973, it was just a memory. Then as a State of Michigan Bicentennial project it was recreated in the form of the Fifth Michigan Regiment Band. In keeping with the authenticity of the Civil War “field” regimental bands, the present band consists of musicians, color guard, and support personnel.
Fifth Michigan Regiment Band was formed in 1974 as a Non profit coroporation The band’s repertoire of the 1860’s includes marches, polkas, schottisches, waltzes, and songs arranged for the group by Lt. Col. Guy Smith, Conductor. The present band plays on antique and replica Civil War instruments at reenactments, concerts, parades, festivals, and other special events.
The roots of the Fifth Michigan Regiment Band go all the way back to August of 1861. At that time, the Fifth Volunteer Infantry, made up of men from the Livingston, Oakland, and Wayne County area, mustered through old Fort Wayne in Detroit. The Regimental band, some twenty members strong, was made up of musicians from within the infantry regiment—foot soldiers first, musicians second. For nearly four years, the 5th Michigan was involved in the war, suffering the 47th highest casualty rate. Time and time again, it displayed courage and valor well beyond the call of duty. Colonel John Gilluly, a Brighton resident, and the 5th Michigan’s first field grade commander, was killed at the Battle of Rappahannock and is now buried in Brighton, Michigan.
The 5th was attached to Phil Kearney’s 1st Division of the 3rdCorps, Army of the Potomac. At the Battle of Gettysburg, the 5th Michigan fought from the beginning and in one hour lost 105 men killed or wounded, or about one-half of the number in the regiment.
When the Army of the Potomac was reorganized under General Grant, the 5th was moved to General Hancock’s 2nd Corps. At the end of the War, it was estimated that over 75 percent of the men who had left their homes in Livingston County ended up as casualties of the War. No other war in our history has claimed such terrible losses.
- Marches, Quicksteps, and Songs of the Civil War – $15.00 (2010)
- Reflections of the Civil War – $15.00 (2003)
- Hymns of the Civil War – $15.00 (2003)
- Echoes of the Civil War – $15.00 (1999)
- Sounds of the Civil War – $15.00 (1999)
- Favorites of the 5th Michigan Regiment Band (Cassette) – $5.00 (1996)
Contact: Carol Smith
Address: P.O. Box 170, Novi, MI 48376