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 Posted: Mon Apr 16th, 2007 07:04 am
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Texas Defender
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   John Lincoln Clem (originally John Joseph Klem) was born in Newark, Ohio on August 13, 1851. When the war began, he ran away from home and tried to enlist in the 3rd Ohio. He was refused, so he tried the 22nd Michigan. He was again refused, but was allowed to accompany the regiment as a drummer boy. At first, the officers chipped in to pay him the private's pay of $13.00 per month.

   He did not rally the troops at Shiloh, as per the Disney legend. The person that may have corresponded to that role possibly was eight year old Lewis Easterly of the 9th Illinois. Clem was actually nicknamed: "The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga," where he allegedly shot a Confederate officer. He was made an honorary sergeant in recognition of his valor.

   He served in the Atlanta campaign, where he was captured, and exchanged (or released), and later wounded. For a time he was an orderly for General Thomas, before being discharged from the Army in September of 1864.

   After the war, he tried to get into West Point, but failed the entrance exam. In 1871, President Grant gave him a direct commission. He served in artillery for a time before transferring to the Quartermaster Corps. Eventually, he rose to the rank of major general before retiring in 1916. At that time, he was the last Civil War veteran on Army rolls. He survived until 1937.

John Lincoln Clem (1851 - 1937) - Find A Grave Memorial

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