Civil War bands play blue and gray

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With darkness settling over the battlefield and soldiers bedding down for the night, the familiar lyrics rose -- music and voices blending from both Union and Confederate camps.

"'Mid pleasures and palaces though I may roam,

"Be it ever so humble there's no place like home!"

On more than one occasion during the Civil War, those words -- from the prewar hit "Home, Sweet Home" -- brought the two sides together, an impromptu and peaceful battle of the bands, if only for a few minutes.

For the bored and lonely men trying to while away the evenings, military bands provided much-needed comfort and entertainment.

Now several dozen bands around the country perform music from the Civil War era -- often on authentic instruments and in period attire -- but not just to entertain. By telling stories that go with the music, they also provide a lesson in history, a glimpse into the lives of the soldiers and their families as they fought to define the nation's future.

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