Beyond Their Years: Stories of Sixteen Civil War Children

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9781493017577: Beyond Their Years: Stories of Sixteen Civil War Children
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Sometimes a war's greatest heroes are its survivors, those who manage to forge new lives despite the tragedy they have experienced. For the sixteen unsung heroes profiled in Beyond Their Years, surviving also meant surrendering their childhood. These children found themselves on the edge of the fray - both in combat and in the throes of daily life - helping, or simply enduring, as best their interrupted youths allowed. Their behind-the-scenes stories illustrate what it was really like for children during the Civil War. Meet Ransom Powell, a thirteen-year-old drummer boy who survived grueling Confederate prison camps; writer and patriot Maggie Campbell, only eight years old when the war ended; Ulysses S. Grant's son Jesse, who rode proudly alongside Abraham Lincoln's son Tad and Ella Sheppard, daughter of a slave mother and a freed father, who lived through the backlash of slave rebellions. Each of these young survivors' lives represent an amazing contribution to the war effort and to postbellum life. Learn the inspiring stories of these American children who displayed courage, devotion, and wisdom beyond their years.

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About the Author:

Scotti Cohn grew up in the Midwest, lived for more than twenty years in the mountains of western North Carolina, then returned to her home state of Illinois. She is also the author of More than Petticoats: Remarkable North Carolina Women and It Happened in North Carolina under the name Scotti Kent. Her other interests include music, cats, astrology, travel, and writing fiction for middle-grade and young adult readers. She lives in Pendleton, South Carolina.

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From the Story of John Sergeant Wise:

Late on the night of October 17, 1859, members of the Virginia militia assembled at the train station in Richmond. They had been ordered by Governor Henry A. Wise to go to Harper's Ferry, about 180 miles north, to crush a rebellion. At the Richmond depot, a huge crowd gathered to find out exactly what was going on and to witness the departure of the troops. Young John Sergeant Wise boarded the train and sat down, his squirrel rifle between his knees. As he waited impatiently for his train to depart Richmond, he heard a familiar voice from an adjoining car-a voice that made him cringe. Forty years later, in his book The End of an Era, he recalled the words that filled him with dismay that night: "Gentlemen, has any of you seen anythin' of the Gov'ner's little boy about here? I'm a-lookin' for him under orders to take him home."
The voice belonged to Jim, John's father's butler. Horrified, John shoved his gun-nearly half again as tall as himself-under the seats, and scrambled after it. He listened as Jim asked the soldiers if they had seen "the Gov'ner's little boy." John frowned. He would be thirteen years old in two months. In his mind he was practically an adult! Suddenly, Jim's dark face appeared within inches of his own. The butler grinned and told him to come out. John stayed where he was. When coaxing failed to produce results, Jim grabbed the boy's leg and pulled him out from under the seat. John's hands were still clutching the long rifle. "Well, 'fore the Lord!" Jim exclaimed. "How much gun has that boy got, anyhow?"
In John's words, "the soldiers went wild with laughter." Carrying the rifle, Jim marched John ahead of him like a prisoner of war. At home, the boy was taken to his stepmother's room and lectured on the folly of his actions. There he stayed until the Harper's Ferry expedition had left the depot. His chance to participate in the conflict was yet to come.

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