|About the Book|
This is the story of John Lincoln Clem (juvenile historical fiction for 9-12 age group), the most famous, most enigmatic young drummer boy of Americas nineteenth century civil war. Hes buried in Arlington National Cemetery with the tombstoneMoreThis is the story of John Lincoln Clem (juvenile historical fiction for 9-12 age group), the most famous, most enigmatic young drummer boy of Americas nineteenth century civil war. Hes buried in Arlington National Cemetery with the tombstone epitaph The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga. He has been accused of embellishing his wartime record by historical writers in their articles written in present-day Civil War-oriented periodicals. But he has also been praised--and questioned too--in numerous accounts in history books on The Civil War. His autobiographical journal article, written and published when he was an adult and still on active duty with the U.S. Army as an officer (which is an amazing story itself), leaves gaps in the retelling of his Civil War personal history as to the units served with the dates and locations. All this mystery does is add to the Johnny Clem allure. Even his name was self-chosen. He was born John Joseph Klem, but he changed it to John Lincoln Clem. And his tale of how, at what age, and the year of his running away from home with an Ohio regiment going to join the Union army ended up challenged by his sister Lizzie during an interview, which contradicted her brothers claim of the when, where and how. Wartime reporters wrote articles about him. Plays and songs were performed about his exploits. A ladies group in Chicago tailored a uniform for him to fit his diminutive size. He became a legend in his own time and the controversy continues to this day, adding to his mystique. Johnny Clem was barely three feet tall, if that, but he did manage to impress (seemingly to him) his giant-sized soldier comrades with his daring courage and accomplishments. Juvenile readers should be amazed that one of their own in age and size during another era could have dared to do what he did in time of national crisis: run away from home at age 9 and join up with adults to help save the Union, to finally becoming a gun-toting drummer boy and courier for General Thomas, who promoted him to sergeant after the Battle of Chickamauga. He even became friends with General U.S. Grant, who later after the war returns and appoints Johnny (then a civilian) to the rank of second lieutenant in the peacetime army. Clem retires years later (1915) the last soldier from the Civil War, with the rank of major general.