The Tragic History of the U.S. Child Warriors
The Tragic History of the U.S. Child Warriors

The Tragic History of the U.S. Child Warriors

Khalid Elhassan - June 9, 2020

The Tragic History of the U.S. Child Warriors
John Lincoln Clem in later years. NCO Journal

1. Resting With the Nation’s Heroes

A month after the Battle of Chickamauga, John Lincoln Clem was captured by the Rebels and became a prisoner of war. He was eventually released in a prisoner exchange. He returned to the ranks, and resumed the fight with the Army of the Cumberland. Clem was twice-wounded, before his discharge in September, 1864.

After the war, Clem graduated high school in 1870. He rejoined the US Army in 1871, when he was commissioned a second lieutenant by President Grant. He married twice, raised a family, and served until 1915, before retiring as a general and as the last Civil War veteran still serving in the US Army. John Lincoln Clem died in 1937, aged 85, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

American Battlefield Trust – John Clem

Antietam on the Web – Bugler John Cook

Beyer, Walter Fredrick, and Keydel, Oscar Frederick – Deeds of Valor: How America’s Heroes Won the Medal of Honor (1901)

Find a Grave – Gustav Albert Schurmann (1849 – 1905)

Keesee, Dennis M. – Too Young to Die: Boy Soldiers of the Civil War (2001)

Lucas, Jack, and Drum, D. K. – Indestructible: The Unforgettable Story of a Marine Hero at Iwo Jima (2006)

Midlothian Mirror, November 10th, 2019 – Texas 12-Year-Old Calvin Graham Lied About His Age to Enlist in the Navy During WWII

Military Times, June 7th, 2017 – Marine, Youngest American Killed in Vietnam, Honored by Hometown

National Museum of the United States Navy – Powder Monkeys and the American Civil War

New York Time, June 7th, 2019 – He Enlisted at 14, Went to Vietnam at 15, and Died a Month Later

Ohio History Central – Johnny Klem

Pearl Harbor Visitors Bureau – Calvin Graham, the Youngest Recruit

Sauk County Historical Society – Frank A. Pettis, Reedsburg’s Civil War Drummer Boy

Smithsonian Magazine, December 19th, 2012 – The Boy Who Became a World War II Veteran at 13 Years Old

Styple, William B. – The Little Bugler: The True Story of a Twelve Year Old Boy in the Civil War (1998)

United States Navy Memorial – Aspinwall Fuller

Wikipedia – Child Soldiers in the American Civil War

Wikipedia – Powder Monkey

Wikipedia – Orion P. Howe

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