- More than 2,000,000 Federal soldiers were twenty-one or under.
- 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.
- Twenty-five were ten or under.
Confederate figures are skimpier, but in a sample of 11,000 men, the majority was between eighteen and twenty-nine. About 1,000 were eighteen; 366 were seventeen; 200 were sixteen; 31 were fifteen; three were fourteen and there was even a thirteen year old.
Most of the young boys enrolled as musicians, fifers or drummers, but ended up picking up a gun or saber with their regiments. The most famous one was Johnny Clem who attempted to enlist at only nine years old and four feet tall. Clem became unofficially a drummer for the troops and a celebrity for his actions at Chickamauga, Ga., in September 1863. The 22nd Michigan was assigned to defend Horseshoe Ridge, but Confederate soldiers soon surrounded it. A Confederate officer spotted Clem, who was armed with a musket modified for his size, and demanded that he surrender. In the face of danger, Clem shot the officer and ran, making his way back to Union lines.
At the age of seventeen, Arthur MacArthur, failed to get into West Point in 1861, then got a place as adjutant of the 24th Wisconsin. He commanded a regiment and was wounded three times in bloody battles. He went into the regular army, retired as a lieutenant general and became the father of General Douglas MacArthur.
War is devastating enough, but to have fresh-faced, innocent young boys in harm's way on a battlefield defies all civilized thinking. Looking at the young faces of our grandsons, ranging in age from 31 to 14, I cannot even imagine the agony of sending one of them to war before they come of age. It's hard enough when they have to fight for our country as an adult. My brother gave the ultimate sacrifice and was killed in Vietnam at the age of 22. I pray our family never has to experience that wrenching trauma again.
Golden Keyes Parsons writes historical fiction, and is also a popular retreat/conference speaker. Her highly acclaimed Darkness to Light Series (Thomas Nelson Publishing) chronicled the journey of her French Huguenot ancestors in 17th century France. Her fourth novel, His Steadfast Love, is a Civil War novel set in Texas. Her latest releases are ebooks (WhiteFire Publishing) – a biblical fiction series entitled Hidden Faces, Portraits of Nameless Women in the Gospels. A print compilation of the four novellas releases April 15th, 2014.
Golden lives in Waco, TX, with her husband, Blaine, where they enjoy their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and are avid sports fan of their alma mater, Baylor University. You can contact her at www.goldenkeyesparsons.com.
I'm giving away a free copy of my newest release, Hidden Faces: Portraits of Nameless Women in the Gospels to one of you, chosen at random, who leaves a comment and answers this question: What is the biggest sacrifice a member of your family has made for our country?
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woops previous post posted to quick. Last may I visited my friend who lives near the Chickamauga battlefield. 9 is so young but I guess a lot of boys saw it as fun and adventure.ReplyDelete
25 April in Australia is ANZAC day which stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and commenorates the landing of the troupes at gallipoli 25 april 2015. It was really when Australia became a nation in many ways. I have a great uncle who landed there and died the following day fighting the Turks. I have another Great Uncle who died in Austria after winning a military cross.
We didn't lose any relatives in WW2 but on Dads side, he and his brother were in the army, Sister in the airforce as was her future husband. On mums side her brother went to New Guinea as a transport driver, her sister as an army nurse. One sister married a soldier who became a prisioner of war and her other sister married a soldier who after his death they found out he was in the Z force which was the spy force.
Wow! Lots of military service in your extended family. What a legacy!Delete
It's hard enough knowing our adult sons, daughters, nieces and nephews are in war, but I can't even imagine boys that age fighting. Just unbelievably tragic.ReplyDelete
It is chilling, isn't it? Just seeing those little guys in the re-enactment again sent goosebumps all over my body.Delete
As a mom of four sons, I shiver at the thought of them in battle when they were so young. But one thing we have to consider, boys were more mature and responsible back then than they are now. They had to grow up quicker. I'm certainly not justifying boys going to war, just trying to understand how so many did. I have a son in the National Guard who's been deployed three times, and it never gets easier to say goodbye,ReplyDelete
That's a thought, Vickie. In many respects, boys were more mature in those days as far as responsibility and work ethic. And thank you for your son's service to our country. It is a huge sacrifice. Blessings!Delete
My niece is in the army now and her greatest sacrifice is when she is away from her two beautiful daughters.ReplyDelete
What a sacrifice for a young mother. Her service is appreciated. Thank her for us. Blessings!Delete
Golden, This is so sad the ages these young men went to war. It is hard to imagine.ReplyDelete
My second oldest son enlisted in The United States Marine Corps. before he graduated high school and left for boot camp 2 weeks later. He has been through the conflicts in Somolia 3 tours Iraq; and Afganistian. He retired last Sept after 22 years. I thank God he came home safely. It was hard to hardly ever see him and see him leave.
I want to thank you and your family for your brothers service and I am sorry for your loss.
I also want to thank everyone else who has family serving.
Thank you and Blessings.
Thank you, Jackie. It is so very hard to tell a loved one good-bye, and not know if they will come back home to us. Thank you for your condolences. And thank you for your son's service to our country. Blessings!Delete
My great grandfather was 8 years old and was the second youngest to serve in the Civil War in the state of Florida. He was a mail carrier. His name is John Hance O'Steen and they have a Sons of Confederate Veterans group named in his honor that my dad, brother and cousin help found. http://florida-scv.org/Camp770/. My uncle, Irvin O'Steen, whom I never met, fought in World War II and lost his life in 1944. He was only 22 years old. My dad said he wanted to go into service, but since his dad had passed and his brother was killed, they would not let him, since he was the last boy in the family. I think war has touched every family that has lived, in some way. Thank you for sharing this information! jumpforjoy at gmail dot comReplyDelete
As I mentioned in my post, the records of the Confederacy were a bit sketchy. Thanks for sharing your story about your great grandfather serving in the Civil War.Delete
My grandfather lied about his age to join the army during World War I, but never went overseas. My great-great-grandfather was in a Wisconsin regiment during the Civil War, but they never went into battle; the only deaths were caused by drowning and disease. My family doesn't have an illustrious military tradition.ReplyDelete
Disease claimed more lives in the Civil War than injuries, if I'm remembering correctly. Infection and poor hygiene ravaged the men and took them down.as effectively as a bullet. It was an awful time in the history of our country.Delete
My father spent over 20 years in the Air Force and missed the first two years of my life because he was overseas. My brother enlisted in the Navy at the age of 18 and during the VietNam war he drove a skiff up the Mekong Delta to deliver supplies to our troops on land. He was shot at by snipers more times than he can remember.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this post.
Smiles & Blessings,
countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com
Wow! Your family has certainly known the strain of having someone in danger during a time of war. Thank you for sharing and thank you for your family's sacrifice to serve our country.Delete
I think the greatest was that we had 3 great Uncles die in WWII - my Great Grandma was devastated. truckredford(at)Gmail(dot)ComReplyDelete
Oh my. Were they brothers? I cannot even imagine the trauma of that experience for a mother. Thank you for your family's ultimate sacrifice for our country.Delete
My uncle was a POW during WW II, while serving for the British army . I would love to win your books! sm wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)comReplyDelete
I had an uncle who was a POW during WWII as well. He lost toes due to frost bite, but he did come home. Thank you for sharing!Delete
The winner of a copy of my newly released biblical fiction, Hidden Faces: Portraits of Nameless Women in the Gospels is ....... TERRI W!!!ReplyDelete
Please contact me, Terri, with your mailing instructions asap. Thanks and congratulations!Delete