Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
David Wood, age 10 upon joining with his father, Samuel N. Wood, more of their story on Find a Grave link.
The official age of enlistment in the Civil War for Northern soldiers was an unsurprising 18. The Confederacy had no minimum age. It is surmised, regardless, 20% of era soldiers were below 18 years of age.
" There were 127 Northern soldiers recorded as being age 13, 330 age 14, 773 age 15, 2758 age 16 "*- these official numbers are of course higher, soldiers even younger than 13 not uncommon. All three of my grgrgrandfathers who fought their way through the American Civil War, all three, enlisted at age 16, Federal soldiers, one a regular army cavalry trooper, lied about their age. And went to war. David Wood, above, was 10. Famous and feisty, 11 year old drummer Johnny Clem shot at a Confederate officer, in the 21st Indiana regiment could be found Edward Black, an 8 year old drummer. 11 year old Charles C. Hay answered the call from Alabama, marching to war and William Black was 12 years old when wounded. A famous photo shows Will, eyes older than his round and youthful face, nursing the sling containing his shattered hand and arm.
These are some whose names we know. From photographs surfacing out of Time's depths we can be sure that although records are hopelessly inadequate and names are lost, these fledgling men were fully grown soldiers.