Saturday, May 10, 2008

John Pollard Bass Drum of 55th Illinois Volunteers, Company A

John and Deb Hamann have this 31" x 18" huge beauty in their collection -- a patched John Pollard (label inside shell reads "John Pollard Drums and Musical Instruments") bass drum identified by painted lettering with 55th Illinois Volunteers, Company A, organized in Fulton County, Illinois and assigned to the Army of the Tennessee: March 1862 - August 1865.

The Patch: One can only wonder what happened to require that patch repair. Given that the 55th saw action during the Civil War, the possibility of battle damage is present, but not documented (a great subject for further research).

See this list of the musicians in the 55th Illinois Infantry Band, one of whom might have played this bass drum and the others of whom might have marched to its beat.

Other Pollard Drums:

This 16-1/2" x 16-1/2" John Pollard maple field drum in the collection of West Coast Civil War Collectors ("WCCWC") is identified to the 10th Massachusetts Infantry. WCCWC reports that the label reads: "John Pollard / Manufacturer of all kinds of / DRUMS / and other / MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS / 209 Fulton Street, New York N.Y."

WCCWC also reports that "[a] 19th century bass drum is held in the Heritage Military Music Foundation Antique Musical Instrument Collection, also made by Pollard, with a maker's label attributing the same address." That 22" x 22" drum is used by the 1st Brigade Band, a Division of Heritage Military Music Foundation, Inc., and is marked John Pollard, New York, New York:

And what about this recent 20-1/2" x 17-1/2" addition to my collection? Is it a Pollard? Who knows?

Additional Sources on the 55th:

The story of the 55th regiment IL volunteer infantry in the civil war, 1861-1865. By a committee of the regiment. [Clinton, Mass., Printed by W.J. Coulter] 1887.

The Fifty-fifth Illinois, 1861-1865. forward by Edward C. Bearss. Reprint 1993 by Blue Acorn Press, Huntington, WV.

History of Fulton County, Illinois: Together with sketches of its cities, villages . . . by Chapman, 1879.

The Story of My Life, an autobiography, Milton L. Haney. By: M.L. Haney, 55th Ill. Inf., Normal 1904, Civil War info on pages 137 to 220.

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