.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Youngest Wounded: Drummer Boys

Excerpted from: wikipedia.org


Drummer boys were children recruited as drummers for use on the battlefield.

Until well into the 19th century, western armies recruited young boys to act as drummers. The drums were an important part of the battlefield communications system, with various drum rolls used to signal different commands from officers to troops. Although there were usually official age limits, these were often ignored; the youngest boys were sometimes treated as mascots by the adult soldiers. The life of a drummer boy appeared rather glamorous and as a result, boys would sometimes run away from home to enlist. Other boys may have been the sons or orphans of soldiers serving in the same unit. The image of a small child in the midst of battle was seen as deeply poignant by 19th-century artists, and idealised boy drummers were frequently depicted in paintings, sculpture and poetry.

Thirteen year old Charles King was the youngest soldier killed in the entire American Civil War (1861–1865). Charles enlisted in the 49th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry with the reluctant permission of his father at the age of 12 years, 5 months and 9 days. On September 17, 1862 at the Battle of Antietam or Battle of Sharpsburg he was mortally wounded near or in the area of the East Woods, carried from the field and died three days later.

Twelve-year old drummer boy William Black was the youngest recorded person wounded in battle during the American Civil War. John Clem, who had unofficially joined a Union Army regiment at the age of 9 as a drummer and mascot, became famous as the ""The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga" where he played a "long roll" and shot a Confederate officer who had demanded his surrender.

An 11 year-old drummer in the Confederate Orphan Brigade, known only as "Little Oirish", was credited with rallying troops at the Battle of Shiloh by taking up the regimental colors at a critical moment.

Another noted drummer boy was Louis Edward Rafield of the 21st Alabama Infantry, Co. K, known as the "Mobile Cadets". He had enlisted at age 11 and while 12 at the Battle of Shiloh he somehow lost his drum; he then obtained an enemy drum and kept on going, thus earning the title of "The Drummer Boy of Shiloh".



0 comments:

Post a Comment

Share

Facebook Twitter Delicious Stumbleupon Favorites