The musicians were either drummers, buglers and/or fifers. The musicians served a critical role in communications in the regiment. Their signals told the men when to rise, when to eat, when to assemble, when to end the days duties and when to go to sleep. They also served to guide the action of the soldiers in battle.
Twenty-five men served as musicians in the 13th Maine. Most musicians were boys 12-16 years old, but one musician in the 13th Maine was 54 years old.
According to the general orders organizing the regiment, each company was supposed to have two musicians, plus the regiment was supposed to have two principle musicians and a band of 24 musicians. In fact, most regiments did not have a band in the field and the 13th Maine never had one.
Only three of the musicians in the 13th Maine were professional musicians in private life. Most of them were craftsmen, students or clerks in civilian life.
Since they were generally so young, most were small. The smallest man in the regiment, 16 year old Charles L. Connor, a musician in Co. F, was only 4’3” tall. He was a carder in a textile mill in civilian life.
In addition to their military duties as musicians, these soldiers were usually assigned many "lowly" and often very burdensome duties like carrying water, barbering, caring for the sick and wounded, burying the dead... Much of this work, of course, was performed while the rest of the soldiers were resting or sleeping.
Three musicians of the 13th Maine died and five were discharged for disability.