16 years old, William T. Biedler fought as part of the Virginia Cavalry Regiment as a Sergeant in the Civil War. He wasn’t the only boy, and he certainly wasn’t the youngest to take part in the war.
If you want to join the military, you have to be 18 years old. That’s the rule today. However, during the Civil War, age was not important. As a result, many children participated in the battles, together with their fathers or older brothers. Many of them even lied about their age in order to be accepted into the military and fight for their country.
Despite their tender age, these boys had to know how to handle a gun and follow orders, just like any adult soldier. Sadly, some of these young boys didn’t live enough to see their families ever again, while others became war prisoners or were terribly maimed in the fighting.