"By this time," Charles Bardeen wrote in his memoirs, entitled A Little Fifer's War Diary, "my readers are wondering how my family allowed me to enter the army at so early an age, while I would still go off alone and cry if anybody spoke harshly to me..." My readers are probably wondering the same thing. Modern parents cannot imagine allowing their 13 or 14-year-olds to go to war and yet, as we saw in my first post, many boys fought in both the Union and Confederate armies. Where, we might reasonably wonder, were their parents? What would compel mothers and fathers to allow boys far below the legal enlistment age of 18 to enter the army and put their lives on the line?Read More
Edwin Jemison has a famous face. If you've taken a history class in the United States, you've almost certainly seen him in your textbook; if not there, then in a photo montage in any documentary. There's something about the look in his eyes that seems to have captivated historians, textbook authors, and the general public.
We see his fictional counterparts portrayed in the media, as well, for that same emotional effect. In Cold Mountain, for example, the first character we follow across the screen is a young, beardless, enthusiastic Confederate soldier, of whom Jude Law's character observes, "He can't be old enough to fight, can he?" Predictably, the young soldier is wounded and dies within the first fifteen minutes of the film.Read More