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He then tried to join the 22nd Michigan , which also refused him. He tagged along anyway and the 22nd eventually adopted him as mascot and drummer boy.
The legend suggests that he came very near to losing his life when a fragment from a shrapnel shell crashed through his drum, knocking him unconscious, and that subsequently his comrades who found and rescued him from the battlefield nicknamed Clem "Johnny Shiloh.
The 22nd Michigan appears to be the first unit in which Clem served in any capacity, but this regiment had not yet been constituted at the time of the battle mustering into service in August — four months after the Battle of Shiloh.
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Hays which was written for Harpers Weekly of New York. The song was written following the Battle of Chickamauga in September , and may have been written with Clem in mind because he had already become a nationally-known figure by that time. Regardless of his entry into service, Clem served as a drummer boy for the 22nd Michigan at the Battle of Chickamauga.
He is said to have ridden an artillery caisson to the front and wielded a musket trimmed to his size. In the course of a Union retreat, he shot a Confederate colonel who had demanded his surrender. After the battle, the "Drummer Boy of Chickamauga" was promoted to sergeant , the youngest soldier ever to be a noncommissioned officer in the United States Army. Chase , decorated him for his heroics at Chickamauga. Calvin Walker, whose 3rd Tennessee opposed the 22nd Michigan towards the end of the battle.
In October , Clem was captured in Georgia by Confederate cavalrymen while detailed as a train guard.
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The Confederates confiscated his U. Clem was wounded in combat twice during the war. Later life[ edit ] Clem graduated from high school in Clem was promoted to first lieutenant in Clem graduated from artillery school at Fort Monroe in He was promoted to captain in and transferred to the Quartermaster Department where he stayed for the rest of his career.
He was promoted to major in During the Spanish—American War in he served as depot quartermaster in Portland, Oregon as well as department quartermaster for the Department of Columbia. He then served in the occupation of Puerto Rico as depot and chief quartermaster in San Juan. Clem was promoted to lieutenant colonel in and to colonel in He then served from to as chief quartermaster at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.
Clem reached the mandatory retirement age of 64 on August 13, , when he was retired and promoted to the rank of brigadier general , as was customary for American Civil War veterans who retired at the rank of colonel. Clem was the last veteran of the American Civil War serving in the U.
Army at the time of his retirement,  though another Civil War veteran, Peter Conover Hains , re-entered the service in On August 29, , Clem was promoted on the retired list to the rank of major general. After her death in , he married Bessie Sullivan of San Antonio in Sullivan was the daughter of a Confederate veteran, leading Clem to claim that he was "the most united American" alive.
After retirement he lived in Washington, D.
Dates of promotion[ edit ] Through his military career Clem held the following ranks: