Helbling Family, Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)
We left our story with the Springsteen family chasing after their son Abram who was running off to war…
But Jefferson Springsteen (1820-1909) must have remembered his own headstrong, daredevil nature at the same age, and he and his wife Anna (Connor) Springsteen (1824-1887) finally relented. They allowed Abram to muster into Company I, 63rd Indiana Volunteers on 29 July 1862. He had turned 12 years old only 24 days earlier.
Anna- and Jeff and the whole family- must have been terribly distraught- they had just lost their youngest son, Joseph Springsteen, at only 22 months old. Now another son was leaving them, and the risk of him not coming back was high.
Abram had quite the adventure as a drummer boy in the Civil War, but he saw horrors as well. Regiments tried to keep their drummer boys protected, as their drum rolls were one of the few ways to communicate in the chaos and noise of battle. In May of 1864, Abram was ordered off the field at the Battle of Resaca, Georgia by his commanding officer, General Mahlon Manson. Abram lingered, carrying his drum, wanting to be in the thick of it all. An enemy shell knocked Gen. Manson off his horse, and Abram ran to his side, being the first to reach him. Abram probably felt very smug at the service he was able to do after technically disobeying an order.
Other times, the small size of the drummer boys could be an advantage. Abram told the story that he was to carry dispatches to a forward skirmish line, which was in a very dangerous position. Abrams crawled through a field of cotton, on his hands and knees. The enemy noticed him, and began firing. He jumped up and ran as fast as he could- thankfully the enemy soldiers were not good shots. He was able to safely deliver the important missives and help the Union in their battle with the Rebs.
To be continued…
Notes, Sources, and References:
- “Hoosier Youngest Civil War Soldier,” by Louis Ludlow, in The Evansville Courier and Press, Evansville, IN, page 4, columns 1-3, via GenealogyBank.com.
- “Diary of Abram F. Springsteen” transcription, done by family members. Thank you for sharing!
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