The beat of the Drum was one of the most important ways of communicating orders to Civil War soldiers. Whether it was wake up call, the beat to march to, or the order to attack, the drum was essential to control the Army. But the risk for a drummer boy was high. Hundreds were killed and thousands wounded.
“A cannon ball came bouncing across the corn field,” a drummer boy recalled, “kicking up dirt and dust each time it struck the earth. Many of the men in our company took shelter behind a stone wall, but I stood where I was and never stopped drumming. An officer came by on horseback and chastised the men, saying ‘this boy puts you all to shame. Get up and move forward.’ We all began moving across the cornfield… Even when the fighting was at its fiercest and I was frightened, I stood straight and did as I was ordered. … I felt I had to be a good example for the others“.
–Source “The Boys War” by Jim Murphy
A soldiers daily life began early in the morning, often before daylight. This drum call signaled that it was time to get up and begin the day.
Call To Battle