American History Stories—Volume IV - Mara L. Pratt

A Plucky Boy at Fort Donelson

A story is told of a little boy about eleven years old, whose father, a Union volunteer, had been taken prisoner some time before.

Having no mother, and no one to care for him, he made up his mind that he would go to fight his father's captors. So he smuggled himself on board of a boat laden with troops for the attack on Donelson. When the troops marched from Fort Henry, he joined the Seventy-eighth Ohio and trudged along with the rest. One of the officers questioned him and tried to turn him back, but he would not go.

On the field of battle he succeeded in getting a musket, and posting himself behind a tree fired at every head he saw above the enemy's breastwork. The Confederate sharp-shooters tried hard to drive him away, but he kept himself well hidden all the time.

At last a Confederate soldier on the outside of the breast-work took good aim at him, but the little fellow was too quick and brought him down with a shot from his musket. Knowing that the dead Confederate had a fine Minie rifle, the boy ran out, while the bullets were flying in all directions, and took from the soldier his rifle, cartouch and knapsack. Retreating in safety to his tree, he returned to the Seventy-eighth at night with all his prizes.