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The importance of drums in America's armies by ExpoAntique - American Revolutionary War drum

American Revolutionary War drum
American Revolutionary War drum

American Revolutionary War drum

On June 19, 1665, the first companies of soldiers from the Carignan-Salières Regiment landed in Quebec City. Nearly 1,500 men in uniform, marching to the beat of the drum and the clatter of huge regimental flags, arrived in a colony of barely 3,000 souls. It was Louis XIV, the Sun King, who sent these first troops to New France to bend his enemies to his will. At that time, and for several centuries to come, the drum remained a key military communication tool for transmitting battle orders to soldiers. Of course, drums also marked the march by setting the pace for the troops.

But it's mainly during confrontations that drums play their main strategic role. Eliminating a drum enabled the enemy army to disorganize part of the opposing troops. For this reason, drums were often entrusted to young children. Opposing marksmen were at least a little reluctant to murder a child in this way. In practice, the use of children was mainly a way of freeing up this assignment to men of gun-bearing age.

The drums were often placed in front of the commanders, allowing them to transmit their orders orally... and to benefit from a human shield to protect them from enemy fire.

It's worth noting that the sound of the French and English drums differed in tone. The French drum had a low, muted sound. On the English side, the use of a vibrating timbre on the lower drumhead generated a brighter, almost metallic sound. This sonic distinction was essential to enable soldiers to recognize their commanders' orders, particularly in hand-to-hand combat where the two armies were intermingled.

Today, the drum accompanies soldiers on ceremonial occasions, away from the battlefield.

Military drums are highly prized collector's items. Whether replicas of historical re-enactments or originals, their value continues to grow.

Drums from the 1778-1781 French-American alliance are rare collectors' items. They combine the sound of the French drum with the metallic stamp associated with the British army. They are often less colorful than regimental drums. If you are lucky enough to find an original drum, whatever its condition, don't hesitate to buy it. Specialized craftsmen can restore drums to their original appearance, by changing cracked skins, damaged cordage or enhancing painted coats of arms.

American Revolutionary War drum
American Revolutionary War drum

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