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U.S. History/Underage enlistment in the Confederacy

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Question
I am researching a Confederate soldier's record on Fold3.com that states he enlisted Aug 1861 at age 17, but was discharged "by Act of Congress and final statements given at Tupelo Miss July 16, 1862."  Do you know what this Act was, and did it have to do with his being under age?

Thank you,
Pat

Answer
It could be age related.  The minimum age was 18, although this was regularly overlooked.  Estimates are that more than 20% of all Civil War solders were under the age of 18.  By 1864, the draft age was even lowered to 17.  There are records of children as young as 8 who served (primarily as drummer boys).  The age law was widely ignored, but if the soldier wanted out, or his parent came and demanded his release, the fact that he was under 18 would be grounds for release.  

- Mike

U.S. History

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Michael Troy

Expertise

I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.

Experience

I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.

Publications
http://unlearnedhistory.blogspot.com

Education/Credentials
J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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