Drummer Boys of the Civil War
The Boys of War
Under 18 War Veteran
Although the law in the Union was you had to be 18 to join the Army that didn't stop most kids. Through the recruiting process when asked how old they were the kids would just reply, over eighteen." Although they were just children most of them thought the best thing to do to and the war was join the military. But, although the boys were mostly under the age of eighteen they played a very important role in battle. When the battle was on it was very hard to hear the orders of your superiors, so the drummers would all drum a beat that simpleminded the order given but was also loud enough to be heard through the battlefield. Even the signal to attack was a drum roll. The drummers would start what was called a "long roll" which was the drummers one by one banging on their drums repeatedly. Eventually all that could be heard through the battlefield were those drums banging away.
The drums that the boys would play looked like the ones above. The drums were held by a strap that went around the boys necks. Most boys weren't given any weapons except sometimes a knife. So, the only thing these boys had to focus on doing was play these drums.
This is one of the uniforms that drummer boys would wear.
Johnny Clem was a sergeant by the age of twelve.
Group of Drummer Boys
Drummer boys of the civil war