Friday, May 23, 2008

Nathan Gove, Civil War Drummer, 11 Years Old

[Note. Terry Cornett contributed material for this article.]

Young Nathan Gove:
Pencil notation on the back of the photo indicates that Nathan Gove was with the 12th New Hampshire. Terry Cornett suggests that this would have been before he was attached to the 2nd Brigade Band, when it was stationed at Port Royal, on Hilton Head Island.

"The Library of Congress houses the band books from this unit, nee 3rd NH, and the small drum (snare) book belonged to Nathan. He annotated several pages, including the page with The Star Spangled-Banner, mentioning that it was played when the US flag was raised over Ft. Sumter, April 14, 1865."

Terry Cornett
Huntsville, AL


Nathan Gove and the 3rd N.H. Regimental Band:
"Nathan Marcel Gove (b. 1849) was only eleven when he enlisted (8/26/1861, per Bale and Prescott Family Roots) as a drummer boy for the 3rd Regiment of N.H. Volunteers. He served with the band at Hilton Head, S.C., between 1862 and 1863. The band’s last performance relating to the Civil War was in 1865 at Fort Sumter as part of the celebration of the restoration of the American flag. The band continues today in Gove’s home town of Concord as the Nevers’ Second Regiment Band.Learning about People in New Hampshire through Many Eyes

Times Were Tough:
"Actual illness was widespread at Hilton Head, particularly in the form of dysentery and malaria, which afflicted civilian and soldier alike. Neither band ever lost any members, but most of the musicians were taken with fevers or other sickness at one time or another. By the time of the regimental band's voyage home in September 1862, drummer boy Nathan Gove was dangerously ill with malaria. He managed to recover enough to return south with the Post Band in April 1863; but even after an adult career in the U.S. Navy, chosen in the hope that going to sea would improve his health, he would write to the Pension Office in 1891, 'Entering the army at 11 years of age as drummer my service for nearly four years cost me my health and education and changed the whole current of my life. I have never been well since.'" New Hampshire Bands in Civil War South Carolina, chapter by Richard C. Spicer in Bugle Resounding: Music and Musicians of the Civil War Era, edited by Bruce C. Kelley and Mark A. Snell, 2004, Shepherd University, p. 96.


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