Michigan Children of the Civil War A Presentation of Sloan-Longway Created by Kathryn Benard
Why would children want to go off to war? Imagine putting yourself in the line of first fire by being a drummer boy. Are you scared? How would you act? Why did a regiment need a drummer boy?
George E. Sidman, Owosso Born in New York in 1844 Entered the U.S. Army in Owosso On June 27, 1862, became one of seven soldiers noted for his heroism against the Confederate forces in Gaines Mill, Va. Only 16 years old, he encouraged and rallied his comrades to charge until wounded in the hip. He lived to be 75 years old.
Charley Gardner, Flint Charley was 13 ½ years old when the Civil War began Charley’s father responded to the first call for 75,000 troops When 300, 000 more troops were called for, Charley’s teacher S.C. Guild enlisted. Charley and Guild had a very strong attachment, and Charley convinced his mother to let him go with Guild as a drummer boy Charley met with his father near Washington, D.C. Mr. Gardner died soon thereafter from typhoid fever It became Charley’s job as drummer boy to keep the officers happy as well as to be on the front line with the surgeons attending to the wounded. S.C. Guild was fatally wounded in 1862 at the battle at James Island. Charley was again devastated. Guild was his friend, father, Captain, and lover. Charley was wounded for the first time in Knoxville. It hit him in the shoulder and pierced through his lungs. Everyone in his regiment was saddened with his death.
Corydon Foote, Flint Was 13 years old when he enlisted into Company F of the 10th Michigan Infantry. He enlisted the day after his 13th birthday. His father gave him the permission to join fearing that he would otherwise run away to enlist. Served with Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s forces Was a drummer boy for Company F of the 10th Michigan Infantry, organized in Flint Became the last living veteran of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), dying in 1944 at the age of 95. Photo Courtesy of Sloan Museum
Can you imagine saying goodbye to your classmate as they went off to war as a drummer boy? What do you think camp life was like for the drummer boys? Would you support children in today’s wars? Why or why not?
“The Dead Drummer Boy”, Author Unknown 'Midst tangled roots that lined the wild ravine, Where the fierce fight raged hottest through the day, And where the dead in scattered heaps were seen, Amid the darkling forest's shade and sheen, Speechless in death he lay. The setting sun, which glanced athwart the place, In slanted lines, like amber tinted rain, Fell sidewise on the drummer's upturned face, Where Death had left his gory finger's trace In one bright crimson stain. The silken fringes of his once bright eye Lay like a shadow on his cheek so fair; His lips were parted by a long-drawn sigh, That with his soul had mounted to the sky On some wild martial air. No more his hand the fierce tatoo shall beat, The shrill reveille, or the long roll's call, Or sound the charges, when, in smoke and heat Of fiery onset, foe with foe shall meet, And gallant men shall fall. Yet may be in some happy home, that one, A mother, reading from the list of dead, Shall chance to view the name of her dead son, And move her lips to say, "God's will be done!" And bow in grief her head. But more than this what tongue shall tell his story? Perhaps his boyish longings were for fame. He lived, he died; and so memento mori. Enough if on the page of War and Glory Some hand has writ his name.
The Hero of the Drum, by George Bungay The drummer with his drum Shouting "Come! heroes, come! Forward march, nigher, higher! When the veterans turned pale, And the bullets fell like hail, In that hurricane of fire Beat his drum, Shouting "Come! Come! come! come!" And the fife, In the strife, Joined the drum, drum, drum-- And the fifer with his fife and the drummer with his drum, Were heard above the strife and the bursting of the bomb. The bursting of the bomb, Bomb, bomb, bomb. Clouds of smoke hung like a pall Over tent and dome and hall; Hot shot and blazing bomb Cut down our volunteers Swept off our engineers; But the drummer beat his drum, And he beat "No retreat!" With his drum: Through the fire, Hotter, nigher, Throbbed the drum, drum, drum, In that hurricane of flame and the thunder of the bomb, Braid the laurel wreath of fame for the hero of the drum! The hero of the drum, Drum, drum, drum. Where the Rappahannock runs, The sulphur-throated guns, Poured out iron hail and fire; But the heroes in the boats Heeded not the sulphur throats, For they looked up higher, higher, While the drum, Never dumb, Beat, beat, beat, Till the oars Touched the shores, And the fleet feet, feet, Of the soldiers on the shore, with the bayonet and gun, Thought the drum could beat no more, made the dastard rebels run. The dastard rebels run, Run, run, run.
What are the emotions in each of the poems? What do the poems mean? How did the poems make you feel?
References Archives of Sloan Museum. Catalogue, Civil War, pp. 17-18, 28, 36. Flint Boy Was Drummer: Letters Recall 1863 Christmas. (Circa 1963). The Flint Journal, page unknown. Sterner, C. Douglas (2004, March 19). Home of Heroes: Sidman, George E., www.homeofheroes.com/moh/citations_1862_cwq/sidman.html The Dead Drummer Boy (n.d.) Retrieved March 24, 2010 from http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-54463_18670_18793-52914--,00.html The Hero of the Drum (n.d.) Retrieved March 24, 2010 from http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-54463_18670_18793-52914--,00.html