An appealing Civil War story about a 13-year-old boy who proved to himself that he was useful, despite the opinion of his father: ""Pa said I wasn't much use, not like my brother, Jed, who left before me."" When the nameless boy hears President Lincoln speak, the appeal for help seems to be directed right to him. The boy writes a note to his father, climbs out the window one night, and enlists by lying about his age, becoming a drummer boy for the North. War is worse than he could have imagined, until he learns that ""if I kept beating my drums I couldn't always hear the men crying out or the horses dying."" The soldiers encourage him: ""[T]hey tell me it covers the first sounds of battle, so I guess I am some use after all."" Turner (Angel Hide and Seek, p. 745, etc.) tells an unforgettably sad story, of youth wasted, and of the thoughtless condemnation of a child by a parent. Lovely realistic illustrations make vivid the lessons of the story.