Youngest Soldier of War Is Found…The youngest soldier of the civil war finally has been discovered and he has historians to back his statements. According to Loosing, the United States historian, the credit of this distinction belongs to Col. John L. Clem, assistant quarter-master-general of the United States Army now quartered at the Presidio, but about to be transferred to a Texas post.
Col. Clem enlisted in the union army, according to the data, as a drummer boy in May, 1861 before he had reached the age of ten years. He served thereafter till the end of the war under General Grant and later under Generals Rosecrans and Thomas, and took an active part in many important battles. When only twelve years old he was made a sergeant of Co. C, twenty-second Michigan Regiment, on the battlefield of Chickamauga.
An interesting entrance of Col Clem into the army was his first attempt at enlistment. He applied together with several other lads among them, his old friend, George A. Shields, now at the St. Francis hotel in this city, for enlistment, and was of course, turned down by the recruiting officers on account of his youth. He persisted however and stole away with his regiment, making himself known when well away from home. Thereafter he became a regularly enlisted member of the Union army. His service throughout the war was meritorious. - Redlands (Cal.) Citrograph …Ocala Banner: 11-27-1908