Nearly All Were Boys
October 5, 1911
Nearly All Were Boys.
We forget that the Civil War was waged for the most part by mere boys. Of the 2,278,588 who enlisted on the Union side, practically all were boys. The 118,000 who were over 21 years of age form but a fractional part of the enormous total of 2,250,000. A million of this total were enlisted between 18 and 21. About three hundred thousand were 18 years old. About six hundred were 17, and some one hundred thousand from 14 to 15 years of age. Three hundred were 13, 225 12, thirty eight were eleven and there were 25 who were only 10 at the time of enlistment. The figures on the southern side would show a yet earlier average age. It is this fact that keeps the pension roll alive today. If the average soldier was twenty at enlistment he would today be but seventy-one years old, and his wife would be even younger.
Source: Crittenden Record-Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1909-191?, October 5, 1911, Image 2 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.
[My comments are in brackets.]