Friday, December 10, 2010

The Civil War through the eyes and hears of children


100,000 children under the age of 15 enlisted to fight in the Civil War.  George S Lamkin of Mississipi joined the Confederate army at the age of 11 and was wounded by 12 years old at the Battle of Shiloh.  

More than 2,000,000 Federal soldiers were twenty-one or under (of a total of some 2,700,000)-

More than 1,000,000 were eighteen or under.
About 800,000 were seventeen or under.
About 200,000 were sixteen or under.
About 100,000 were fifteen or under.
Three hundred were thirteen or under-most of these fifers or drummers, but regularly enrolled, and sometimes fighters. 
Twenty-five were ten or under.   

I shudder when I think of the impact this experience would have on these youth.  Drummer boys traveled with the army and were as young as 7 and 8.  See Civil War Drummer Boy. They were more than Drummer Boys:
"While watching these battle lines so grand to look upon, but so terrible to think of when you remember the frightful waste of human lives they caused, the call came; "Bring the stretchers, a man hurt." Myself and Demas took the stretchers to look for the man, he was pointed out to us and proved to be Bradford (our older brother) who had been struck by a shell in the left shoulder while lying on the ground in line waiting for the first assault just opening.  By his side lay James W. Conger, whose clothing was stained by his blood. We were little more than children and the shock to us can be better imagined than described. Demas and myself lifted him to the stretcher just as Col. Kirby Smith and Adjutant Heyl were shot from their horses a few steps away We carried him to the shallow ditch by the railroad a few rods to the rear, where the temporary field hospital was located, as it offered a slight protection to the wounded from the deadly hail of bullets that fell about them coming from all directions except the rear We then placed him in an ambulance still alive and conscious. We bid him goodbye and never saw him again. He only lived a short time and occupies an unknown grave,"  told by David Auld, drummer for the 43rd Ohio Volunteers. See Civil War drummer boys did more than just play the drums.  See also  The History of Fuller's Ohio Brigade, 1861-1865; Its Great March, with Roster, Portraits, Battle Maps and Biographies, pg 431.  
This book has been added to the About Our Freedom Reading Room:

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