Tiny Faces Beneath Kepis, Or, Armed And Eight Years Old

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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17,870
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Central Pennsylvania
#1
boy food.jpg

From a fairly well known photo " Tasting the soup ", in public access on LoC, this kid isn't the main subject - it's adults tasting soup. He's scraping something from a tin pot, an unreadable expression on his face. And wearing a uniform. Must be around 10 or 11.

boy uniform.jpg

From the photo of Christian Commission Headquarters, Richmond, this terribly sad little face peers from beneath a kepi, shoes several sizes too big although that uniform has been made for a child. That boy isn't more than 10. Maybe I don't know that for a fact because we don't know whose mother's son this is. I do know boys.

So these photos have always haunted me. There's a lot of discussion about boy soldiers, those too young to shave for Heaven's sake and went anyway. Two of my great great grandfathers left for war age 15. Two! It must have been awfully common. There were teenagers- and then there were children. I mean little kids. Just because most were drummers doesn't make it normal or ok. Intent of thread is sheer documentation, proof these mostly nameless children were there, not to argue the point or pick holes. I just want to take them home.

Edward Black was eight- eight, when joining late July,1861. 21st Indiana. Four years later his arm and hand were shattered by a ball. He wasn't around for long post war. Edward died in 1872. We have a dreadful track record when it comes to our children. For all the wonderful photos of kids with dolls and toys and families there were several in factories. The child labor laws weren't passed until after my mother was born.
boy uniform w black wounded.jpg

Legend has it Edward was the youngest ' soldier ' wounded in the war. Not so sure. I've read just nurse's acounts speaking of tiny soldiers in their hospitals. It's not a barbaric competition, it's horrifying evidence we don't take terrific care of children.

You don't hear much in newspaper of the era. Some, when a child died. Drummers were in harm's way. Some weird refusal to look at who was out there seems to have prevailed- but there were these snippets.
boy soldier 1861 illinois.JPG

The whole thing gives you chills anyway.

So these photos have always haunted me. There's a lot of discussion about boy soldiers, those too young to shave for Heaven's sake and went anyway. Two of my great great grandfathers left for war age 15. Two! It must have been awfully common. There were teenagers- and then there were children. I mean little kids.

Unclear is their role. Drummers? Sure although why that made it just fine is anyone's guess. And why anyone would feel it OK that children whose worst worry should be homework face not just camp life but battles. I'm not speaking of kids dressed up as soldiers- these small boys were there.

boy uniform new york - Copy.jpg

That's a uniform, photo studio is New York. That kid might be 12 on a tall day.

boy uniform 3 wood.jpg

He's identified, I know and was indeed there. Surname Wood? Taken before or after he'd seen things no adult should see much less a child, no idea. My kids were leaving dirty soccer gear in the living room and putting empty milk cartons back in the fridge. Please no one tell me all about how ' it was different in those days '. Not so sure. Different how? Kids with no protection are a little timeless.

boy soldier 1862 nc.JPG

14 or 15 is almost ancient compared to some of these kids and someone still found it shocking.

boy uniform wash rifles small conf.jpg

I ' think ' in the uniform of the Washington Rifles? Please no one get sidetracked over ' no it's not '. It's a uniform and not dress-up. Kid had to jump down from a chair to march off to war.

boy uniform kitchen1.jpg

Photo is almost worse seen whole. He's just there, alone, posed with that bucket. There's a woman seeming to be posed with laundry too. ife? Laundress, both? Makes you hope after this was shot she grabbed him and ran far away.

boy uniform  sold new haven.jpg

" New Haven " ID. This is all wrong. A whole lot of Nope.

boy uniform kids play 1861.JPG
 

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Joined
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194
#3
Some of them may be dressed with photographer's props. Others (the one labeled "New Haven") might be students at a military school. The picture of Edmund Black (the boy with his arm in a sling) is allegedly of a young drummer in the 21st(?) Indiana.

The picture of Wood (the boy holding the revolver) is David Wood, 6 Mo Cav. His father was in the same regiment and he was mascot, and later bugler in company G. He served unofficially in 1861, was actually enlisted in 1862, then his father got discharged and took him home about 8/62. He received a dishonorable discharge, which was upgraded to honorable in 1912. His father was in the Kansas legislature. David moved to Colorado and became quite wealthy in the freight shipping business. Two of his daughters were involved in the creation of the "Dick and Jane" books that some of you may have used to learn to read. He was born 8/25/51 and died in Montrose, Colo. 3/9/44. He is buried in Cedar Cemetery in Montrose, Colorado.
 
Joined
May 16, 2014
Messages
194
#5
John Escudero joined the 12th US in 1863. He was born in 1854. Bernard Brady served in the 58th Pa - age reportedly 8 years and 11 months. Edward Black (pictured above) was born in 1853 and enlisted in 1861. John McDonald was born 2/52 and joined the 3rd US Artillery in 3/62 (his service seems to have been entirely on the west coast). John Messick served in the 42nd Ind. at age 9. There were others who i have not been able to confirm/document. The problem is that minors who enlisted in both armies tended to lie about their age - sometimes flagrantly. Mancil Root of the 36th Wis. may have added as much as 6 years to his age - but that is an extreme example
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
17,870
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#10
View attachment 305989
From a fairly well known photo " Tasting the soup ", in public access on LoC, this kid isn't the main subject - it's adults tasting soup. He's scraping something from a tin pot, an unreadable expression on his face. And wearing a uniform. Must be around 10 or 11.

View attachment 305999
From the photo of Christian Commission Headquarters, Richmond, this terribly sad little face peers from beneath a kepi, shoes several sizes too big although that uniform has been made for a child. That boy isn't more than 10. Maybe I don't know that for a fact because we don't know whose mother's son this is. I do know boys.

So these photos have always haunted me. There's a lot of discussion about boy soldiers, those too young to shave for Heaven's sake and went anyway. Two of my great great grandfathers left for war age 15. Two! It must have been awfully common. There were teenagers- and then there were children. I mean little kids. Just because most were drummers doesn't make it normal or ok. Intent of thread is sheer documentation, proof these mostly nameless children were there, not to argue the point or pick holes. I just want to take them home.

Edward Black was eight- eight, when joining late July,1861. 21st Indiana. Four years later his arm and hand were shattered by a ball. He wasn't around for long post war. Edward died in 1872. We have a dreadful track record when it comes to our children. For all the wonderful photos of kids with dolls and toys and families there were several in factories. The child labor laws weren't passed until after my mother was born.
View attachment 305997
Legend has it Edward was the youngest ' soldier ' wounded in the war. Not so sure. I've read just nurse's acounts speaking of tiny soldiers in their hospitals. It's not a barbaric competition, it's horrifying evidence we don't take terrific care of children.

You don't hear much in newspaper of the era. Some, when a child died. Drummers were in harm's way. Some weird refusal to look at who was out there seems to have prevailed- but there were these snippets.
View attachment 305991
The whole thing gives you chills anyway.

So these photos have always haunted me. There's a lot of discussion about boy soldiers, those too young to shave for Heaven's sake and went anyway. Two of my great great grandfathers left for war age 15. Two! It must have been awfully common. There were teenagers- and then there were children. I mean little kids.

Unclear is their role. Drummers? Sure although why that made it just fine is anyone's guess. And why anyone would feel it OK that children whose worst worry should be homework face not just camp life but battles. I'm not speaking of kids dressed up as soldiers- these small boys were there.

View attachment 305996
That's a uniform, photo studio is New York. That kid might be 12 on a tall day.

View attachment 305994
He's identified, I know and was indeed there. Surname Wood? Taken before or after he'd seen things no adult should see much less a child, no idea. My kids were leaving dirty soccer gear in the living room and putting empty milk cartons back in the fridge. Please no one tell me all about how ' it was different in those days '. Not so sure. Different how? Kids with no protection are a little timeless.

View attachment 305992
14 or 15 is almost ancient compared to some of these kids and someone still found it shocking.

View attachment 305998
I ' think ' in the uniform of the Washington Rifles? Please no one get sidetracked over ' no it's not '. It's a uniform and not dress-up. Kid had to jump down from a chair to march off to war.

View attachment 305995
Photo is almost worse seen whole. He's just there, alone, posed with that bucket. There's a woman seeming to be posed with laundry too. ife? Laundress, both? Makes you hope after this was shot she grabbed him and ran far away.

View attachment 305993
" New Haven " ID. This is all wrong. A whole lot of Nope.

View attachment 306001

Some were- some weren't. The kids-playing-dress-up photos are generally overdone or have made-up ' uniforms ' and tend to ( I said tend to ) indicate the whole uber-patriotic thing that swept the country resulted in a lot of dress-up. Most of the photos I use do not come from Pinterest or gee-whiz sites- the top one is LoC and Black's story was so well known there are newspaper accounts all over the place when he was wounded. One of these above, the New Haven image has the kid's name hand written across the bottom.

I don't know. Barnum had a teeny kid dressed up like a military drummer, the jerk. There are a few others not pictured here that seem suspect.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#11
My G-Grand was 12 when he signed up in the Cavalry. Then transferred to the 52nd Virginia Infantry. He was the youngest.

That's amazing! HOLY cow. 12 and not a drummer- a trooper. Sorry to be nosy, did his parents agree he could go or did he ' run away ' to serve? You're here which means he survived the war. My kids age 12 tried to get themselves killed ( like most 12 year olds ) through whatever 12 year old, outrageous feats of fog brain they could dream up. You know. Trees, bikes and steep hills, hurling themselves through space from any place high enough to be fun. No war involved. Boys. One on a horse getting shot at seems about right.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Joined
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Messages
17,870
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Central Pennsylvania
#12
The boy in the Hardee hat is wearing one of those knitted fatigue coats. There's another on an adult on the left smoking a pipe. (The soldier, not the coat. :smile:)

That so funny- the smoking thing. There's an image I added to the hoard a few years ago of small boy, cross legged on a chair smoking a pipe. Hopefully that one was intended as a joke, to be shocking but it gives you quite a jolt!
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2012
Messages
9,855
#14
That's amazing! HOLY cow. 12 and not a drummer- a trooper. Sorry to be nosy, did his parents agree he could go or did he ' run away ' to serve? You're here which means he survived the war. My kids age 12 tried to get themselves killed ( like most 12 year olds ) through whatever 12 year old, outrageous feats of fog brain they could dream up. You know. Trees, bikes and steep hills, hurling themselves through space from any place high enough to be fun. No war involved. Boys. One on a horse getting shot at seems about right.
I wished I had some history on him. I have some speculation that at age ten, which was the age for working on a farm, he was a helper in a blacksmith shop which was walking distance from his home. Thus his reason for jining the Cavalry. Then the transfer.

Also believe money was an issue for him signing up. Wounded at Battle of Bethesda Church, was in the Chimborazo Hospital. Thence to Indiana to gain his health with kinfolk. Married at 19 to a 20 year old girl. All of this is documented.
 
Joined
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Messages
321
Location
Sunny South
#15
Jack - who is your 11 year old?
Albert M. McAfee was born on Dec. 11, 1849 in Linn Co., Iowa. He made it to Baton Rouge from Texas and was impressed with the fully equipped battery. He was rejected because of a weight and height requirement. Handed down family history says he slipped off, ate as many bananas, drank as much water as he could and then stuffed newspapers in oversized boots. This apparently worked. He enlisted in the Pointe Cou.pee Artillery on July 30, 1861 in Baton Rouge. He was appointed a teamster. He is on rolls through Dec. 1861 which means he was present during two fights with Union gunboats near Columbus, Ky. and the Battle of Belmont. He joined up to fight Indians after the war. Have photo of him.
 



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