11-year old Drummer Boy Kidnapped by Parents, Returned Home

Claude Bauer

First Sergeant
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Jan 8, 2012
Abram Furman Springsteen initially enlisted at age 11 as Private/Musician, Co. A, 35 IN Infantry, but apparently his parents weren't too keen on the idea, especially when the unit was headed for the battlefield:

“When the regiment was ordered to the front, however, and was entertaining at the old Jefferson depot on South street, in Indianapolis, the parents kidnapped the boy and took him to a farm owned by relatives near Noblesville for hiding. Missing the drummer boy at Cincinnati the captain of the company wired back to Indianapolis threatening arrests."

At his parent's application he was discharged a few months later. Undeterred, however he reenlisted in Co. I, 63 IN Infantry at the ripe old age of 12, this time with his parent's consent, but came close to experiencing a repeat of his previous enlistment:

"The night the regiment was to entrain for actual service, the parents received permission to take the boy home for the night. Suspecting another attempt to keep him out of the fighting; the boy climbed out of an upstairs window and hurried back to camp.”

Drummer Abram.JPG


The tenacious lad was captured in battle, but escaped, and returned to service. He survived the war, living until 1930. For his full life story see the following account:

https://static1.squarespace.com/sta...347744/1569861167792/Springsteen,+Abram+F.pdf
 
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Claude Bauer

First Sergeant
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Jan 8, 2012
He was so young. So glad he survived the war.

Having raised two boys, it's inconceivable to me that an 11 or 12-year old should be in the military at all, much less anywhere near a battlefield, but just goes to show how attitudes change over time. I couldn't imagine waking a 12-year old at 4:00 am to work in a factory or on a farm for 16 hours a day, six and half days a week, either. But that's what people had to do just to survive.
 

NH Civil War Gal

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Feb 5, 2017
"A captain with the company suggested to Pernell and Adeline that enlisting as a drummer boy was truly a sensible option. Drummers are noncombatants, he assured them, and remain behind the lines, safe from harm"

This whole sentence seems incredible. Many male diaries talk about all the vice in a regular army so I'm surprised the Captain even thinks this is a great idea to expose a boy to gambling and drinking that was always going on, never mind the punch ups between soldiers that was a regular feature of life. And then the battles. No one could guarantee that and look what happened.
 

Story

2nd Lieutenant
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Aug 5, 2011
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SE PA
Having raised two boys, it's inconceivable to me that an 11 or 12-year old should be in the military at all, much less anywhere near a battlefield, but just goes to show how attitudes change over time. I couldn't imagine waking a 12-year old at 4:00 am to work in a factory or on a farm for 16 hours a day, six and half days a week, either. But that's what people had to do just to survive.

...and yet it's an unfortunate constant. Africa has seen the mass-drafting of child soldiers in the late 20th & early 21st century.
 
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