American Civil War Women and Child Soldiers
Women Soldiers: No one knows how many women served as soldiers during the Civil War. In the North and South combined, it is estimated that about 400 women disguised themselves as men and enlisted. These women fought alongside men. They did the jobs they were assigned in camp. If a woman was discovered, she was banished from the army. But some served without anyone discovering they were women. Women also served as spies, some quite effectively.
Child Soldiers: Both the North and the South had children enlisted in their armies. Children were supposed to be over 16, but some as young as 10 years old. Children helped with the wounded and some were given chores in the rear of the army. Others, especially drummer boys who were in the thick of the battle, were killed and wounded. President Lincoln came to the rescue of children in trouble in the Union army. A drummer boy was about to be executed for desertion when Lincoln interfered and sent him home instead. Some children were very brave. The youngest Medal of Honor winner remains Willie Johnston, 3rd Vermont, Civil War, age 12.