"The Drummer Boy of Shiloh" is about a young boy in the army during the Civil War. He is the drummer boy of the unit at the Battle of Shiloh.
Many soldiers lie dead around the young boy. He himself is mortally wounded and being held up by another soldier. The last thing he does before dying is pray. His devotion to God touches all the other soldiers and the townspeople of Shiloh. Everyone who knew of the drummer boy and how he prayed before dying feels lost without him.
The boy's story was told both as a ballad and as a short story, and it was also made into a movie. The ballad was written by William Shakespeare Hays in 1863. The short story was written by Ray Bradbury.
The story is based on the life of John Clem. Clem ran away from home when he was 9 years old and joined the army. He was the drummer boy for the 22nd Michigan Infantry during the Battle of Chickamauga. Clem was wounded but did not die during the battle. Captured by the Confederate Army, Clem was released as part of a prisoner exchange. He went on to become a Brigadier General in the Quartermaster Corps before retiring from military service.