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Children and Youth during the Civil War Era$
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James Marten

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814796078

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814796078.001.0001

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A “Rebel to [His] Govt. and to His Parents”

A “Rebel to [His] Govt. and to His Parents”

The Emancipation of Tommy Cave

(p.65) 4 A “Rebel to [His] Govt. and to His Parents”
Children and Youth during the Civil War Era

Thomas F. Curran

NYU Press

This chapter tells the story of fifteen-year-old Tommy Cave, who ran away from his home in Boone County, Missouri, in 1862 and joined the Confederate army against his father's wishes. Six months later the boy was captured just a few miles from his father's farm and, like other prisoners of war taken in the state, was sent to St. Louis. It was not uncommon for Federal authorities in St. Louis to release prisoners under the age of eighteen to their parents. However, after investigating the facts, Provost Marshal General Franklin Dick determined that Cave had rebelled against his parents in the same way that he had rebelled against the Federal government. Instead of returning the boy to his parents, Dick decided that the army would continue to hold Cave as a prisoner of war. By doing this, Dick essentially freed Cave from his parents' control and treated him as any other adult prisoner. Cave was sent to the military prison in Alton, Illinois, with other rebel captives until an exchange of prisoners could be arranged. The boy would be paroled and exchanged with about a thousand other Confederates from Alton in mid-1863. He quickly returned to active duty, and a year later he died far from home on a battlefield in Virginia.

Keywords:   Civil War, children, youth, Confederate army, prisoner of war, military prison

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