Like their brothers in arms, the members of the "Wildcat Regiment Band"
were swept up in the wave of patriotism enveloping the United States, both North
and South, in 1861. During that same year in Pennsylvania, the men of Indiana,
Jefferson, Clarion, Clearfield and Westmoreland Counties answered their
country's call to arms and joined the standard of the "Wildcat Regiment".
These musicians who formed this Civil War Band were average men who came from small towns, assorted professions, and from all walks of life. They were laborers, farmers, store keepers, and teachers, yet they were the esprit de corps for the first long year of the Civil War. Their brass band music provided fervor before a charge and quiet comfort during war's anguish. Though mustered as a bandsman, a musician served a dual role: he often was required to put down his instrument and pick up a stretcher and tend to his wounded or dying comrades.
The Band was recruited by band leaders John C. Smith of Indiana and John T. Strattan of Strattanville. The "Wildcats" were fortunate to attract the services of "Professor" Smith, who enlisted with several members of the civilian Indiana Brass Band. The heritage of the Wildcat Regiment Band is grounded in the early history of the Indiana Brass Band. The pride of Indiana County, this band had been in existence since 1842 and was highly regarded for the musical ability of its members.
The original Wildcat Regiment Band served faithfully from September 1861 until August 1862, when General Order No. 91 discharged all regimental bands.