Boys who served as drummers in the civil war, risked their lives alongside men twice their age and, sometimes, size. Some became prisoners of war, while others were killed in battle or died from diseases that ravaged even the strongest men. Those who were lucky enough to survive were often left with a lifetime of haunted memories.
Until well into the 19th century, western armies recruited young boys to act as drummers. The drums were an important part of the battlefield communications system, with various drum rolls used to signal different commands from officers to troops. Although there were usually official age limits, these were often ignored; the youngest boys were sometimes treated as mascots by the adult soldiers.
The life of a drummer boy appeared rather glamorous and as a result, boys would sometimes run away from home to enlist. Other boys may have been the sons or orphans of soldiers serving in the same unit. The image of a small child in the midst of battle was seen as deeply poignant by 19th-century artists, and idealized boy drummers were frequently depicted in paintings, sculpture and poetry. Wikipedia and other info source from Cate Lineberry- writer, editor and multimedia producer in Washington.
Photo: Unable to locate source for photo, identification of boys or date photographed.
From: The Civil War Parlor