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MR. LINCOLN'S DRUMMER by G. Clifton Wisler


by G. Clifton Wisler

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-525-67463-2
Publisher: Dutton

 Willie Johnston was a real ten-year-old boy who was a drummer for the Union Army during the Civil War, serving with the Third Vermont Infantry and seeing combat before being hospitalized with the fever. He was the only boy to hold onto his drum during the retreat from the vicious battle at Savage's Station, VA, when even adult soldiers were abandoning their firearms. Thus Willie was able to play for President Lincoln during his visit to the troops, and became the youngest person ever to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Willie joined up in 1861 along with his father, also named William Johnston--a fact that Wisler notes made tracking the boy more difficult. Nevertheless, this historical novel is scrupulously researched and overflowing with evocative detail, and Willie's tale is authentic and engaging. (Fiction. 10-12)