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Willie Johnston of the 3rd Vermont won the Medal of Honor for heroism on an unknown date in the spring of 1862. Since he was born about July, 1850, he would have been eleven years old. He is the youngest recipient of the Medal of Honor ever. Orion P. Howe, age 14, won the Medal of Honor on May 19(?) 1863 at Vicksburg, Mississippi. Orion's regiment, the 55th Illinois, was penned down and running out of ammunition. Orion volunteered to run across open ground to get help. He was wounded in the leg, but made it.

William Horsefall of Kentucky was 14 when he rescued an officer under fire and was awarded the Medal of Honor. There were several others, but those three are the only ones I can think of at the moment.

No "Drummer Boy's" were awarded the Medal Of Honor during the War for Southern Independence. The ones cited above were actual soldiers in line units.

Maybe you meant Flag Color Bearers? I believe the color bearer for the 54th Massachusetts received a MOH for the action at Charleston harbor.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society refers to Willie Johnston as a drummer boy. Here's what they have to say about him:

The first Medal of Honor awarded after the original presentation ceremony for the Andrews Raiders in March, 1863, went to musician Willie Johnston, Company D, 3rd Vermont Infantry. Willie was born in 1850. When his father enlisted in December, 1861, young Willie begged to go with him. The commanding officer agreed to let Willie join up, and he was enlisted as a drummer boy on December 11, 1861.

Willie's first fight was at Lee's Mills, Virginia, on April 16, 1862. During his next campaign, the Seven Days fighting and the Peninsula Campaign from June 25 to July 1, 1862, Willie was cited for the Medal of Honor. It was during the disastrous retreat from that campaign, when strong men threw away all their equipment so they would have less weight to carry, that young Willie Johnston retained his drum and brought it safely to Harrison's Landing. There, he had the honor of drumming for the division parade, he being the only drummer boy to bring his instrument off the battlefields.

Young Johnston's division commander noted these facts and included them in his report. Somehow, President Lincoln heard the story and wrote Secretary Stanton suggesting the youth be given a medal. Stanton agreed, and Willie Johnston was presented his Medal of Honor September 16, 1863, at the age of 13, for a deed performed when he was but 12 years of age.

There's no question Willie was a drummer boy.

In thinking what is so important about a drummer boy, you have to remember that during the Civil War, there were no radios or walkie talkies. The "drummer boy" was an integral part of the combat team. It was he, and the bugler, who learned the various calls so necessary to call the soldiers of the unit into action, whether it be combat or mess. Without them, communication was near impossible to large numbers of troops. It was the same way for color bearers. The unit(s) assembled upon them, and because of this, it was a dangerous job, as enemy sharpshooters would be constantly looking to cut them down, thus disrupting movement and assembly of troops.

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8y ago
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12y ago

Each regiment of infantry was supposed to have 10 drummers (and 10 fifers) - one for each of its 10 companies. Other units (heavy artillery, engineers etc) would also have drummers of course.

Counting gets tricky because (a) some regiments were reorganized or consolidated or renumbered at various times during the war - there were about 2,000 Union infantry regiments, and maybe 800 Confederate infantry regimetns depending on how you count; and (b) many drummers would be discharged, or would desert or died and would be replaced.

Best guess - at any particular moment during the Civil War, there were 20,000 - 30,000 drummers in both armies, with a total of at least 50,000 individiuals serving as drummer at different times.

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14y ago

In battle. Many of them picked up a gun when someone fell next to them and started to fight. There are also reported cases of cannon balls going through the drummer and hitting them. They were such a vital part of the communication that they found themselves a target of enemy fire. One boy wrote, "A ball hit my drum and bounced off and I fell over." The boys also carried water while in camp, rub down horses, gathered wood, and cooked for the troops. Fighting in the war was pretty bloody. Of 900 men in the First Maine Heavy Artillery, 635 became wounded or killed in the first seven minutes. A North Carolina regiment saw 714 of its 800 soldiers killed at Gettysburg .The drummer boys put down their drums and took up the rifle in that case. One boy who did this was named Johnny Clem. At 11 years old he ran away from home, and enlisted. He became a drummer and was paid 13.00 a month for his services. He was at the battle of Shiloh where he earned his nickname "Johnny Shiloh." A piece of cannon shell bounced off a tree stump and destroyed his drum, so he found a gun and fought for the rest of the war. By the fall of 1863 he had the rank of sergeant. The civil war was the last time drummer boys would be used in battle.

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11y ago

Johnny Clem he enlisted and the Michigan regiment took him in a their drummer boy paying him 13 dollars

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Q: How many drummer boys died in civil war?
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Related questions

Did girls fight in battle in the civil war?

No. The troops were young men and boys. The boys were drummer boys, but many did fight as well.

How many drummer boys are buried at Shiloh?


How many drummer boys are in the song twelve days of Christmas?

eleven drummers drumming

What were the talking drums for what purpose were they used?

The talking drums were drums that have the shape similar to an hourglass and are found in west Africa. The were used for purposes of conveying tonal messages to people who were up to five miles away.

What was the ages to fight in the Civil War?

On both sides, soldiers had to be at least 18 years of age to legally fight. However, many evaded the age requirements. Many also slipped in as musicians (drummer boys and fife players) at ages as young as 12 or 13.

How many veterans were alive after the civil war?

There are no US Civil War Veterans alive today. The War ended 150 years ago.

How many boys ten years or under served in the civil war?

25 boys ten or under

Ages of civil war drummer boys?

Despite the popular notion that most musicians in the war were 13 and younger, checking through roster lists shows that the average age fell somewhere between 17 and 22. Certainly, there were many minors, falling between the ages of 15 and 17, but few were under the age of 15 and a musician 12 or younger was very much a rarity (though they existed). Those under 18 had to receive permission from their parent in order to enlist legally.

What types of men fought in the civil war?

All types. Old and young. In fact, boys could enlist. Many boys would lie about their age while others entered as drummer and fife players which were needed to 'play' out battle commands. The youngest drummer was 8 years old. Black men also fought in the Civil War and the most famous group was the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Other companies of troops included Irish and Scottish brigades. Many older men enlisted because they felt the need to protect their home. Not just men fought in the Civil War. There were several recorded instances of women fighting- most of which enlisted as 'men' and kept their identity secret.

How many years were drummer boys used?

they were used for about fifty years. after the civill war ended they still were used in other wars or battles.

How many boys ten years and under served in the civil war?


How many soldiers fought in the civil war and how many died?

approximately 5.5 million troops served in the Civil War. About 620,000 of them died