Drummers of the Civil War were not entertainers, their duty was vitally important. They dedicated long hours to perfecting their skill. They had to, the fate of the Union was in jeopardy and lives depended on them.
HILLIKER, BENJAMIN F.
Rank and organization: DRUMMER, Company A, 8th Wisconsin Infantry.
Entered service at: Waupaca Township, WI. Born: 23 May 1843, Golden, Erie County, N.Y. Place and date: At Mechanicsburg, MS., 4 June 1863. Date of issue: 17 December 1897.
CITATION: When men were needed to oppose a superior Confederate force he laid down his drum for a rifle and proceeded to the front of the skirmish line which was about 120 feet from the enemy. While on this volunteer mission and firing at the enemy he was hit in the head with a minie ball which passed through him. An order was given to “lay him in the shade; he won’t last long.” He recovered from this wound, being left with an ugly scar.
HORSFALL, WILLIAM H.
Rank and organization: DRUMMER, Company G, 1st Kentucky Infantry.
Entered service at: Unknown. Born: Campbell County, Ky. Place and date: At Corinth, MS., 21 May 1862. Date of issue: 17 August 1895.
CITATION: Saved the life of a wounded officer lying between the lines.
HOWE, ORION P.
Rank and organization: DRUMMER, Company C, 55th Illinois Infantry.
Entered service at: Woken, Ill. Born: 1849, Portage County, Ohio. Place and date: At Vicksburg, Miss., 19 May 1863. Date of issue: 23 April 1896.
CITATION: A drummer boy, 14 years of age, and severely wounded and exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy, he persistently remained upon the field of battle until he had reported to Gen. W. T. Sherman the necessity of supplying cartridges for the use of troops under command of Colonel Malmborg.
JOHNSTON, WILLIAM H. “WILLIE”
Rank and organization: DRUMMER, Company D, 3rd Vermont Infantry.
Entered service at: St. Johnsbury, Vt. Born: 1850, Morristown, N.Y. Place and date: During The Peninsula Campaign. A series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia. Date of issue: 16 September 1863.
CITATION: Details not on record in War Department. William H. “Willie” Johnston, is the youngest soldier ever to receive the Medal of Honor. During his service he participated in several events including the Seven Days Retreat in the Peninsula Campaign where he was reported to have served in an “exemplary” fashion. During this event Johnston was the only drummer in his division to come away with his drum during a general rout. His superiors considered this a meritorious feat, when many soldiers had tossed aside their rifles to lighten their load. Johnston was awarded the Medal of Honor on the recommendation of his division commander, thereby becoming the youngest recipient of the highest military decoration at 13 years of age. Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton, personally presented the Medal of Honor award to Johnston on September 16, 1863.
LANGBEIN, J. C. JULIUS
Rank and organization: DRUMMER, Company B, 9th New York Infantry.
Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Born: 29 September 1846, Germany. Place and date: At Camden, N.C., 19 April 1862. Date of issue: 7 January 1895.
CITATION: A drummer boy, 15 years of age, he voluntarily and under a heavy fire went to the aid of a wounded officer, procured medical assistance for him, and aided in carrying him to a place of safety.
Rank and organization: DRUMMER, Company C, 33rd New Jersey Infantry.
Entered service at: Unknown. Born: Newark, N.J. Place and date: At Murfreesboro, Tenn., 5 December 1864. Date of issue: 7 February 1866.
CITATION: In a charge, was among the first to reach a battery of the enemy and, with one or two others, mounted the artillery horses and took two guns into the Union lines.
SCOTT, JULIAN A.
Rank and organization: DRUMMER, Company E, 3rd Vermont Infantry.
Entered service at: Johnson, Vt. Born: Johnson, Vt. Place and date. At Lees Mills, Va., 16 April 1862. Date of issue: February 1865.
CITATION: Crossed the creek under a terrific fire of musketry several times to assist in bringing off the wounded.
Willie Johnston story found at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Johnston_(Medal_of_Honor)
Image of Union Fifer and Drummer from an antique post card in author's collection. Illustrator is unknown.