Beyond Their Years: Stories of Sixteen Civil War Children

Overview

To examine the Civil War through the eyes of children is to perceive the conflict in a whole new way. To many children, unburdened with the worries of their parents, the war brought only glamorous events and daily excitement. Others less fortunate found themselves suddenly dealing with chronic uncertainty and great loss. Still others found a way to join the ranks as nurses, spies, drummer boys, buglers, or full-fledged soldiers. All experienced a childhood unparalleled in ...

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Overview

To examine the Civil War through the eyes of children is to perceive the conflict in a whole new way. To many children, unburdened with the worries of their parents, the war brought only glamorous events and daily excitement. Others less fortunate found themselves suddenly dealing with chronic uncertainty and great loss. Still others found a way to join the ranks as nurses, spies, drummer boys, buglers, or full-fledged soldiers. All experienced a childhood unparalleled in American history.
The 16 children--male and female, white and black, Confederate and Union, and between the ages of three and 17--profiled in this book left written records of their turbulent journeys through four years of fighting. Their remarkable stories evoke courage, horror, tragedy, patriotism, and incredible endurance, and give tribute to the resilient generation that survived the turmoil, reunited, and went forth to rebuild America.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
Cohn offers YAs accounts of eight children in the Union and eight in the Confederacy. Each story is only about nine pages long and offers history, quotations, and usually a single photo of the individual—though some half of the photos are taken of the child as an adult. The bibliography offers proof of well-referenced research for this volume as well as an extended resource list for classroom teachers. It is conveniently organized by the Civil War youth's name. The short presentations of both Union and Confederate stories create welcome ease for student report writing, and a middle school or freshman/sophomore high school classroom library might do well to consider inclusion of this book for research use. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2003, Globe Pequot Press, 163p. illus. bibliog. index.,
— Linda Piwowarczyk
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762710270
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 11.16 (w) x 4.00 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Scotti Cohn

Illinois resident Scotti Cohn is a freelance writer currently specializing in health care and history. She wrote More than Petticoats: Remarkable North Carolina Women and It Happened in North Carolina under the name Scotti Kent.

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Read an Excerpt

From the Story of John Sergeant Wise:

Late on the night of October 17, 1859, members of the Virginia militia assembled at the train station in Richmond. They had been ordered by Governor Henry A. Wise to go to Harper's Ferry, about 180 miles north, to crush a rebellion. At the Richmond depot, a huge crowd gathered to find out exactly what was going on and to witness the departure of the troops. Young John Sergeant Wise boarded the train and sat down, his squirrel rifle between his knees. As he waited impatiently for his train to depart Richmond, he heard a familiar voice from an adjoining car-a voice that made him cringe. Forty years later, in his book The End of an Era, he recalled the words that filled him with dismay that night: "Gentlemen, has any of you seen anythin' of the Gov'ner's little boy about here? I'm a-lookin' for him under orders to take him home."
The voice belonged to Jim, John's father's butler. Horrified, John shoved his gun-nearly half again as tall as himself-under the seats, and scrambled after it. He listened as Jim asked the soldiers if they had seen "the Gov'ner's little boy." John frowned. He would be thirteen years old in two months. In his mind he was practically an adult! Suddenly, Jim's dark face appeared within inches of his own. The butler grinned and told him to come out. John stayed where he was. When coaxing failed to produce results, Jim grabbed the boy's leg and pulled him out from under the seat. John's hands were still clutching the long rifle. "Well, 'fore the Lord!" Jim exclaimed. "How much gun has that boy got, anyhow?"
In John's words, "the soldiers went wild with laughter." Carrying the rifle, Jim marched John ahead of him like a prisoner of war. At home, the boy was taken to his stepmother's room and lectured on the folly of his actions. There he stayed until the Harper's Ferry expedition had left the depot. His chance to participate in the conflict was yet to come.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction xi
Union
The Natural and Accepted Order of Existence 1
"Sojer Boy, Will You Marry Me?" 11
And Then the Trouble Began 20
A Drop of Blood for Every Tear 28
Little Red Cap 38
"I Can and Shall Never Forget" 47
Bound to Go 56
A Straw to Hold 65
Confederate
"I Wanted to Fight to Music" 74
Little Rebel 85
Flashes of Bursting Bombs 94
"We Cannot Win" 104
Young in the Ghastly Game 112
The Light in the Window 122
A Perfect Sheet of Bullets 132
Want of Leadership 142
Bibliography 152
Index 159
About the Author 164
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