In 1861, when he was 14 years old, Almon left home after the start of the Civil War. Too young and too small to enlist, he followed Indiana infantry regiments for almost a year before he found a company that would enlist him as a drummer boy.
His Seventy-fifth Indiana Infantry Volunteer regiment was sent south through Kentucky to foil threatening Confederate armies. They marched and skirmished into Tennessee and wintered in Murfreesboro. In the spring they participated in the Tullahoma Campaign, fought their way through Hoover’s Gap, then marched on to Chickamauga.
A major battle was fought there on September 19-20, 1863. Al was busily helping wounded soldiers off the battleground when his field hospital was captured.
Al spent 14 months as a prisoner of war in four different Confederate prisons: Richmond, Danville, Andersonville, and Florence. Paroled at last, he rejoined his regiment in 1865. In June they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., part of the victorious Grand Army of the Republic.
This true story is based on primary sources including a memoir written by Almon. Intended for readers age 14 and up, Drummer Boy of Company C: Coming of Age in the Civil War was published on the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chickamauga, September 20, 2013.