|Children in the Civil War|
Children played a role in the American Civil War. In fact, more than 300 Northern Soldiers were under the age of thirteen and a few were under ten. |
A lot of the children who joined the war lied about their ages or used fake names. Back then, fighting in a war seemed like a glamorous adventure.
Many of the boys became musicians or drummer boys. The drummer boy's job was to lead the marching troops into battle. Many of them were shot at because they were in the lead.
There are also a few famous examples of children performing heroic deeds during wartime, who were not soldiers.
|When Johnny Cook was thirteen years old, he served as a bugler with the 4th U.S. Artillery. Just days after his fifteenth birthday, he was involved in the battle of Antietam. Witnessing the cannoneers struck down in battle, he rushed in and took over operations of the cannon. Fighting off three attacks by the South, Johnny was awarded the Medal of Honor. He later joined the Navy and fought on a gunboat until the end of the war. He lived until 1915.|
|Orion P. Howe served as a drummer boy with the 55th Illinois Volunteers. He was shot in the leg during the battle of Vicksburg, but still managed to reach General Sherman with an urgent request for ammunition. Sherman commended the boy for his bravery.|
|Two drummer boys from the 10th Connecticut Volunteers were present at the battle of Fort Wagner. They happened upon a Confederate Soldier who attempted to fire at them, but his gun did not go off. One of the boys pointed a scope at him, which he mistook for a pistol and he surrendered. They grabbed his weapon and marched him back to camp, as a prisoner.|
|A young boy with the 14th Connecticut Regiment was filling a coffee pot by a stream, when he was surrounded by three Southern soldiers. Instead of retreating, he ordered them to surrender. Thinking that he must not be alone, they did. Seizing one of their weapons, he brought the prisoners back to camp.|
|In 1864 the young cadets of the Virginia Military Institute joined the battle of New Market to defend against the attacking Union Army. Ten of the 264 cadets were killed defending their school. Every year on May 15th, the school holds a ceremony to honor the brave students.|
|John Lincoln Clem was only nine, when he ran away from home and joined the 22nd Michigan. Although he was not officially a member, the men chipped in to pay him thirteen dollars each month. At Shiloh, Johnny's drum was hit by an artillery shell and at Chickamauga, Johnny shot an attacking enemy officer. Johnny became known as the Drummer Boy of Chickamauga. Eventually, becoming a courier, Johnny was wounded twice. He retired from service in 1916, having obtained the rank of major general.|
|Albert Munson who was fifteen years old, joined the 23rd Massachusetts with his father. During the battle of Roanoke Island, his father was wounded, but Albert continued to drum, using a pistol for a drum stick. Albert marched right up to the enemy, but was shot and killed.|
|Henry Shaler of Indiana captured twenty-five men prisoners at the battle of Gettysburg, more than any other man in the army. He pretended to be a Southern soldier and had the enemy lay down their weapons to help carry wounded. Henry then drew his pistol and marched them all back to his camp.|
|Robert Henry Hendershot was a drummer boy for the 8th Michigan when his regiment was charged with the duty of laying pontoon bridges across the Rappahannock river during the battle of Fredericksburg. Pinned down by sharpshooters, Robert volunteered for the mission, but was denied. He stowed away, by hanging on the back of the boat. submerged in water. His drum was destroyed, but he picked up a musket and captured one of the Confederate sharpshooters.|