Teen Needs Parental Consent to Enlist During the Civil War

After parental consent was given, boy joins Union Army's artillery division where scrap iron often took the place of ammunition for cannons.

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My father was in the Civil War. In 1864, he was only 16 and wanted to enlist. His father was a Baptist circuit rider minister and would not give his consent.

Father told him that if he didn't sign up for him, he would run away and lie about his age. Rather than have his son lie, Grandfather gave his consent.

Father was in the heavy artillery division. He said they were short of ammunition and loaded their cannon with scrap iron or anything they could get in the cannon. Once they put in a log chain, among other things.

He was with Sherman on his March to the Sea. Father was only 17 when the War was over.

The soldiers had the old "cap and ball" revolvers. They had to melt lead and make their own bullets. I have the bullet mold he carried, and it is a prized possession. I still have his songbook with all the Army songs in it. They used to sing around their camp fires at night.

Mrs .J.M. Harvey
Galesburg, Illinois


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.