He recalls "My loved friend Gen. Thomas," and how he tried "to guide me in the proper way.".
When President Lincoln called for volunteers to serve in the Union army to put down the rebellion, one of those who tried to answer was a 9-year old orphan named John Clem. Refused by reason of age, Clem's persistence impressed the men of the 22nd Michigan, who adopted him as a mascot...
When President Lincoln called for volunteers to serve in the Union army to put down the rebellion, one of those who tried to answer was a 9-year old orphan named John Clem. Refused by reason of age, Clem's persistence impressed the men of the 22nd Michigan, who adopted him as a mascot and unofficial drummer boy, and allowed him to stay with them. The officers chipped in to pay his monthly salary of $13 before he finally was allowed to officially enlist in 1863, at age 12. His unit was part of the Army of the Cumberland, commanded first by Gen. William Rosecrans and then by Gen. George Thomas.
Clem became a national celebrity for his actions at Chickamauga. Armed with a musket sawed down for him to carry, Clem joined the 22nd Michigan in the defense of Horseshoe Ridge on the afternoon of September 20. As the Confederate forces surrounded the unit, a Confederate colonel spotted Clem and ordered him to put down his gun. Rather than surrender, Clem shot the colonel and successfully made his way back to Union lines. General Thomas was so taken with the boy that he promoted Clem to sergeant, (making Clem the youngest soldier ever to become a noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Army), and assigned him to duties at his headquarters. Clem thereafter was known as the “Drummer Boy of Chickamauga;” and his benefactor, General Thomas, won the corresponding nickname of "The Rock of Chickamauga". Clem went on to fight at Perryville, Murfreesboro, Kennesaw Mountain and Atlanta, where he was wounded twice. He was discharged from the army in 1864 at age 13, but rejoined some years later. He retired on the eve of U.S. entry into World War I with the rank of major general, the last Civil War veteran to actively serve in the U.S. Army.
Col. Joseph C. Read was Chief Commissary of Subsistence of the Army of the Cumberland in the Field in 1864, and was responsible for supplying the huge army with food and other necessities. He was on close terms with General Thomas, and was often at his headquarters. There he got to know the young Sgt. Clem. After the war Clem stayed in touch, and Clem gave Read a copy of the print "Album Sketches of the Great Southern Campaign: John Clem" by artist James Queen, which shows the boy hero during his exploits. After Read's death, Clem corresponded Read's wife.
Autograph letter signed, Army and Navy Club letterhead, December 27, 1923, to Mrs. Read. "I don't know how to tell you about my thoughts when I received your very welcome of the 22nd. It carried me back to my childhood's days when your distinguished husband was one of my best friends. He was most kind to me and helped my loved friend Gen. Thomas to guide me in the proper way. I hope to get to Jacksonville one of these days and will certainly look you up. I am a member of Fort George Country Club. We hope to get the Bursum Bill through in the near future." This is the best Clem letter we have had, showing his endearing, and enduring, affection for General Thomas as a man and a father figure.
Included with this is the actual print Clem gave Read. It is itself very rare.
The Bursum Bill would have legitimized land claims of non-Indians who had resided for some time on Indian lands. What connection Clem and Read had to it is not known. In any case, it was never passed.
Frame, Display, Preserve
Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.Learn more about our Framing Services