A Hero Rebuked

You may recall that I have posted over a dozen stories dealing with the wartime experiences of the drummer boy during the American Civil War. Some of these posts have ended up as articles published in drum magazines such as Modern Drummer. One individual’s story that has appeared in several of my posts is the story of Robert Henry Hendershot who was referred to as the “Drummer Boy of the Rappahannock” (See Here and Here). Hendershot is said to have, at only 13 years-old, volunteered and went over in the first boat to cross the Rappahannock River, during the Battle of Fredericksburg. Recently, thanks to my friends at the Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park, I’ve come upon some references that counter this claim and give credit to an individual who has a compelling argument. In fact, his argument is very strong and has convinced me that Hendershot may have been taking credit for something that he did not do. In a newspaper article (year unknown) titled “PROOF THAT CAPTAIN JOHN T. SPILLANE OF DETROIT IS REAL AND ONLY DRUMMER BOY OF RAPPAHANNOCK” writer John Fitzgibbon recalls the validity of Spillane’s argument and an episode of embarrassment of Hendershot. It says in part:

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