(Kathy’s A to Z posts are tidbits of fact gleaned from her research for her historical-fiction novel LIKE A RIVER.)
LIKE A RIVER tells about two Civil War soldiers, both fighting for the Union, both fifteen at the time they enlist.
Leander and Paul are fictional characters, but records indicate that about 100,000 Union soldiers were fifteen and under. Another 100,000 were only sixteen. The number who lied about their ages and weren’t caught will never be known.
Confederate records aren’t as reliable, but the number is believed to be even higher.
Many young boys were used as drummers or buglers, which did not keep them away from battle. Other young soldiers fought (and died) alongside their older counterparts in the front lines.
Can you remember being fifteen? Would you have been ready to fight for your country?