What Do Military Bands Have To Do With Intelligence?

I’m about to be snowed in here in D.C. by “Keyser Snowze,” so you can expect several posts over the next few days.  Before I dash off to the library for some last-minute research, I thought I’d share one quick thing.

The latest issue of the Journal of Military History (74:1, January 2010) has an article by a musicologist.  Now, I bow to no man or woman in my respect for musicologists, but I was surprised to see one appearing in this journal.  However, this article is well worth reading for anyone interested in the Civil War or intelligence.  It’s basically about an odd form of signals intelligence.  Here is the abstract:

James A. Davis, “Musical Reconnaissance and Deception in the American Civil War,” The Journal of Military History 74 #1 (January 2010): 79-105.
Music was an omnipresent part of American Civil War battlefields, yet the role of music in tactical situations has received little scholarly attention. Firsthand accounts reveal that certain officers and enlisted men recognized and drew upon the communicative potential of military music. Alert scouts realized that field musicians and brass bands conveyed valuable information about the enemy position they were reconnoitering, while creative officers used both the connotative and denotative potential of music to enhance tactical deceptions. These occurrences affirm the intrinsic role that music played in the lives of nineteenth-century Americans while revealing an expanding awareness of battlefield psychology.
Published in: on February 5, 2010 at 4:47 PM  Leave a Comment  
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