I will tell you a story of a little boy who once lived in Michigan. His name is John Clem. Johnny’s Father and Mother died leaving him a poor boy without friends and without money and when this war broke out he was enlisted by some officer as a drummer boy. He was only ten years old. He came to Ky with his Regt. marched when his Company marched and always rose early in order to beat his drum to awake all the men for reveille. He was a good boy—always obeyed his Captain and always tried to do his duty like a man. Being a good boy every one liked him, because good boys always have a great many friends—he had many.
Last summer his drum was broken by some accident and poor Johnny often cried because he had no drum to beat, but he always kept up with this company in either hot or cold weather and often he had to sleep on the cold damp ground without a blanket. He has no good bed like Gen. Johnsons boys.
At the battle of Chickamauga he was told to stay in rear and not go into the battle but he was very anxious to see how men fight so he kept up and soon a soldier was killed and Johnny took his gun and loaded and fired it. His Regt. was soon driven back but Johnny would not run. He stood by a tree and presently a rebel Colonel with several orderlies came up to him. The Col said "you little Yankee throw down your gun and surrender." He replied Johnny Clem never surrenders and at the same time fired and killed the Colonel and then escaped and joined his Regiment. As soon as his Colo. heard of the gallant conduct of Johnny he made him a Sergeant and I saw him yesterday stepping around giving orders as big as if he were grown. He wears the Sergeants' Chevron, but he looks like a very small soldier. He is studying to qualify himself for West Point and Gen. Thomas says he will send him there as soon as he is old enough. Johnny will make a great man some of these days and so will any boy who is obedient and faithful in the performance of his duty.