"American Patrol" is a popular march written by Frank White (F.W.) Meacham in 1885. It incorporates both original musical themes by Meacham and melodies from American patriotic songs of the era such as "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean" and "Dixie." Composed for piano, it was then arranged for wind band and published by Carl Fischer in 1891. Copyright was assigned to Meacham's widow, Cora, in 1912 and renewed in 1919. Jerry Gray arranged a swing version of the march for Glenn Miller's orchestra in 1941, and Morton Gould later composed his own unusual and often dissonant "American Patrol for 3 Bands." The "patrol" format was popular in the second half of the 19th century, and other compositions bear titles such as "Turkish Patrol," "Ethiopian Patrol," "Owl's Patrol," "Welsh Patrol" and "Arab Patrol." The format was intended to represent a military band approaching, passing, and fading into the distance. It typically included an introduction played p or pp, in imitation of bugle calls or drums, then themes played progressively louder until a recapitulation of the first theme(s), gradually dying away and finishing pp,ppp, or even pppp. The original piano version of "American Patrol" follows this scheme.
1942 RCA Victor 78 single release, 27873A.RCA Victor 78 reissue, 20-1564-A, by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, as part of the 1945 78 album Glenn Miller.
Glenn Miller recorded the song in 1942 in a swing arrangement by Jerry Gray, where the theme "The Girl I Left Behind" can be also heard as an overlay. The song was released as a Victor 78 single, 27873A, backed with "Soldier, Let Me Read Your Letter". The recording was reissued as RCA Victor 20-1564-A backed with "Song of the Volga Boatmen" as part of a 78 album. The record reached no. 15 on Billboard in 1942.