“Corcoran Cadets” (1890)
The Corcoran Cadets drill team was the pet of Washington, D.C., being the most notable of the drill teams which flourished there after the Civil War. Their average age was sixteen, and they presented a snappy picture with their colorful uniforms, wooden rifles, and youthful enthusiasm. They competed vigorously with units from Washington and other towns and were the first company of cadets to be mustered into the National Guard. Their esprit de corps was high, and the Corcoran Cadets Veterans’ Association held annual reunions for many years.
The “Corcorans” had their own band. Although it is not recorded, they probably made a formal request for this march. Sousa’s affirmative response, “to the officers and men of the Corcoran Cadets,” was no doubt tendered by an earlier association with William W. Corcoran, for whom the Cadets were named. It was he who nearly changed American musical history by considering Sousa for a musical education in Europe. Sousa had declined this opportunity, and the march was probably a belated expression of appreciation.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 43. Used by permission.