Outstanding, Intermediate, E.F. Abbott, Steve Noble, Soldiers, United States Of America, History, Civil War

Document Type

Book Review


Drummer boys in the Civil War are typically ages 14 and up—but the patriotic nine-year-old John Clem secretly jumps on a train to join the Union army. Marching endlessly through the heat of the South, John directs troops with his drum and makes friends with unlikely folks—even a runaway slave. Based on a real account, the book follows John’s three-year stint in the military, including his run-in with General Ulysses S. Grant, who asks him to drum at the Battle of Shiloh, and his success in playing dead at the Battle of Chickamauga. After being captured and later shot in the hip, Johnny is sent home to his family, who believed him dead all these years.