Guide to Lincoln's Life and Legacy



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3-11 The Boys' War of

A Living Resource Guide to Lincoln's Life and Legacy



THE BOYS’ WAR
Statistics
According to The Photographic History of the Civil War, the Union Army numbered about 2.7 million men, distributed by age as follows


Over 21

700,000




16

100,000

19 – 21

1,000,000




14-15

100,000

18

200,000




13 or under

300

17

600,000




10 or under

25

Another source suggests a different distribution


30% under 21 30% between 21 and 25 30% between 25 and 30 10 % over 30
The youngest “soldiers” were typically drummers, fifers, or bugle boys. However, many of them found themselves in combat.
Johnny Clem – The Union’s Youngest Soldier


  • Ran away from home to join the Union Army at 9

  • Accompanied the 22nd Michigan for two years as a drummer boy and “mascot”

  • Allowed to enlist at the age of 11

  • Promoted to sergeant in 1863 after shooting a Confederate colonel demanding his surrender during the Battle of Chickamauga

  • Captured by Southern forces, he was used in propaganda claiming that the North was so desperate that it had to send children to fight

  • Discharged in 1864.

  • Failing in his attempt to enter West Point, President Grant commissioned him as a lieutenant.

  • Achieved the rank of major general before retirement in 1916


Sergeant Clem, Age 12, 1863. Wikipedia. 18 July 2008. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Johnlclem_1863.jpg>

For a variety of information about drummer boys in the Civil War, click on
http://www.emints.org/ethemes/resources/S00000789.shtml


Office of Curriculum & Instruction/Indiana Department of Education 09/08

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