The bloodiest war in American history was often fought by child soldiers.
The Civil War claimed 620,000 lives – nearly as many American casualties as every other war fought by the United States combined. And one out of every five people who enlisted to risk their lives fighting their fellow countrymen was less than 18 years old.
The child soldiers of the American Civil War were often musicians, drummers, scouts, servants, or messengers who marched alongside fighting men. Others, however, experienced the violence firsthand. Some served as “powder monkeys” on warships, carrying gunpowder to the cannons. Others picked up rifles themselves and went straight into the trenches, dying and fighting among grown men.