John Clem

Drummer Boy

Important Details

1. When President Lincoln called for volunteers to join the Union, John Clem was under the age of 10, but still wanted join but was not allowed.

2. He became the unofficial mascot and drummer boy.

3. The soldiers would scrap together some money and by 1863, he became an official drummer boy for the Union.

4. While at Chickamauga, a Confederate solider yelled to John Clems and Clems responded by shooting him and made it back to the Union alive.

5. Because of his actions, he was promoted to Sergent and was the youngest one.

6. He had a nickname of Johnny Shiloh, because his drum was said to be destroyed in the battle of Shiloh.

7. He fought in later wars but was injured twice and was discharged from the war at age 13.


John Clem was younger than 10 years old when Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers for the Union and he decided he wanted to join. He wasn't allowed. He was finally let in as an unofficial mascot and drummer boy. The soldiers would scrap some money together and paid him about 13 dollars a week. Finally in 1863, he became the official drummer boy.

While John Clem's was in Chickamauga, a Confederate solider yelled to him and he responded by shooting him. He became a celebrity, and was promoted to Sergent. He was the youngest Sergent.

John Clem had two nicknames, "Johnny Shiloh" and "The Drummer Boy of Shiloh". He got these nicknames from the battle of Shiloh which is where his drum was said to be destroyed.

John Clem continued to fight in many other battles. He was injured twice in Atlanta and was discharged from the Union in 1864 and was 13 years old. He rejoined the Military in 1870. John Clem retired out of the army on the eve of World War I with the title of Major General. He died in 1937 and is buried in Arlington Cemetery.