Monday, April 2, 2012

Johnny Shiloh-Part 1

April 6-7 will be the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh.

One of that battle's more interesting legacies is that of Johnny Clem, the "Drummer Boy of Shiloh." He was ten when he joined the Union Army, after his mother died.

Many units on their way to Washington marched through young Clem's home of Newark, Ohio. Without his mother to hold him back, he followed Company C of the 22nd Volunteer Infantry out of town, then told them he was a drummer and refused to go away.

Eventually the men accepted him, adopting him as their mascot and helping him learn the various drum rolls necessary in an Army camp.

By the time he was 12, he had formally enlisted and was paid $13 a month.

At the Battle of Shiloh, fragments from a cannon shell smashed his drum, but he continued on with the men, earning him the sobriquet "Johnny Shiloh."

Unlike the boy in the song often identified with him, "The Boy Who Prayed Before He Died," John Clem did not die at Shiloh.

Check here tomorrow for more about this amazing kid--and we worry about our own children "growing up too soon!"

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