US Field Artillery March

From Wind Repertory Project
John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (arr. Brion)

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General Info

Year: 1917 / 2003
Duration: c. 3:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Southern Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $150.00   |   Score Only (print) - $15.00


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

One day, during John Philip Sousa’s brief wartime naval service, he was invited to a luncheon meeting in New York with Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and Army Lieutenant George Friedlander. Friedlander asked Sousa to compose a march for his field artillery regiment, suggesting that the march be built around an artillery song then known by such names as The Caisson Song, The Caissons Go Rolling Along, and The Field Artillery Song. The song was believed to be quite old, perhaps of Civil War origin, and had not been published; the composer was believed to be dead. Sousa liked the song, and agreed to use it. He placed it in a different key, changed the harmonic structure, refined the melody, gave it a more snappy rhythm, and added his own original material around it. The complete composition was then published as The U.S. Field Artillery March.

- Program Note from Appalachian State University Concert Band concert program, 22 February 2016

It came as quite a surprise to Sousa and Lieutenant Friedlander to learn that the composer of The Caisson Song was still very much alive and that the song was less than ten years old. It had been written in March 1908 by Lieutenant Edmund L. Gruber of the U.S. Army Field Artillery at Camp Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands. The piece was composed in the presence of at least two fellow officers who assisted in writing the lyrics. No doubt Lieutenant Gruber was even more surprised to find that his song, much revised, had skyrocketed to fame. He raised no objections to Sousa's use of the song, which was serving the army's purpose admirably.

- Program Note from John Philip Sousa: A Descriptive Catalog of His Works


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • Eastern Carolina University (Greenville) Concert Band (Jay Juchniewicz, conductor) - 2 December 2021
  • University of Iowa (Iowa City) University Band (Nolan Hauta, conductor) – 4 December 2017
  • Lee University (Cleveland, Tenn.) Wind Ensemble (David Holsinger, conductor) – 10 April 2017
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts (Michigan) Adult Band Camp (Thomas Riccobono, conductor) - 14 August 2016
  • Pomona (Calif.) Concert Band (Linda W. Taylor, conductor) – 7 July 2016
  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Concert Band (John Stanley Ross, conductor) – 22 February 2016
  • North Hardin Wind Symphony (Radcliff, Ky.) (Finley R. Hamilton, conductor) – 15 December 2004 (2004 Midwest Clinic)

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Bierley, P. (1973). John Philip Sousa: A Descriptive Catalog of His Works. University of Illinois Press; Urbana, pp. 76.
  • "New Music Reviews." The Instrumentalist. October 2016, 31.