The Band of the California Battalion is an accurate portrayal of a battalion or brigade level band of the Union Army during the Civil War. The instrumentation is completely different from the modern concert band. The Civil War era band did not utilize woodwind instruments. Amongst the brass instruments, there are no French Horns or Trombones. These omitted instruments were much too fragile to stand up to rigorous field usage.
The band is made entirely of a single family of brass instruments called sax horns. These instruments were developed by Adolph Sax who later developed the saxophone. The sax horns blended together with a mellow tone quality when played softly or bright and brassy when played loudly.