Monday, May 26, 2008

In Memory of a Young Civil War Drummer

Brooklyn Eagle, June 13, 1861

This white zinc statue of a Union army drummer boy memorializes Clarence Mackenzie (1848- 1861), the first Brooklynite to die in during the Civil War. Mackenzie was the 12-year-old drummer for Brooklyn's Thirteenth Regiment. He was killed in a "friendly fire" incident in 1861, while stationed in Annapolis, Maryland. Mackenzie is located within the Soldiers' Lot area, a section donated by Green-Wood for Civil War soldiers and veterans.
Green-Wood Cemetery National Register #97000228

Brooklyn - Green-wood Cemetery: Drummer Boy Clarence Mackenzie


Inscription. Erected by the Drum and Bugle Corps of the 13th Regt. N.G., S.N.Y., in memory of Clarence D. MacKenzie, born Feb. 8, 1849, Died at Annapolis, MD., June 11, 1861, aged 12 yrs 4 mos 3 dys

Back of Monument:
This young life was the first offering from King’s County in the War of the Rebellion

Erected. 1886 by Drum and Bugle Corps of the 13th Regt. N.G., S.N.Y.

Location. 40° 39.266′ N, 73° 59.303′ W. Marker is in Brooklyn, New York, in Kings County. Marker is on Linden Avenue, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in Green-Wood Cemetery on Linden Avenue (Section 115, Lot 13536). Marker is in this post office area: Brooklyn NY 11232, United States of America.

More about this marker. The left of the monument contains a military decoration with the words “Our Drummer Boy” and the date of MacKenzie's death, 1861. The right of the monument features crossed flags under the monument erection date of 1886, and the inscription “Our Drummer Boy”.



Clarence D. McKenzie
Drummer Boy
Children in the Civil War era wanted very much to be part of the excitement of the war. They could assist their mothers in preparing bandages; they could write letters to their friends and family members fighting in the war; boys could join the army as drummer boys or as fifers. This is what Brooklyn born Clarence McKenzie did at the age of 12. He joined the Thirteenth Regiment, New York State Militia as a drummer boy. Soon after arriving in Annapolis, in June 1861, he lost his life when a musket accidentally discharged. A statue in his honor stands in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

Source: Brooklyn in the Civil War


Clarence D. McKenzie Monument
Green-Wood Cemetery
Clarence D. McKenzie, drummer boy for Brooklyn's 13th Regiment, was killed early in the Civil War. He was only 12 years old. His funeral was held on July 14, 1861, and 3,000 people attended. This monument stands above his grave in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn. To view the inscription on the monument, see Document 28. For more information about Clarence, see Document 26.

Source: Brooklyn in the Civil War


Clarence D. McKenzie Monument (inscription)
Green-Wood Cemetery
Clarence D. McKenzie, the 12-year old drummer boy for Brooklyn's 13th Regiment, died on June 11, 1861. This monument in his honor stands above his grave in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery. The inscription reads: "ERECTED BY THE DRUM AND BUGLE CORPS OF THE 13TH REGT. N.G., S.N.Y., IN MEMORY OF CLARENCE D. MACKENZIE, BORN FEB. 8, 1849, DIED AT ANNAPOLIS, MD., JUNE 11, 1861, AGED 12 YRS, 4 MOS, 3 DYS."

Source: Brooklyn in the Civil War


Clarence D. McKenzie, a drummer boy for Brooklyn’s 13th Regiment was killed at Annapolis, Md., when he was only 12. His funeral, held on July 14, 1861, was attended by 3,000 people. A statute of the boy and his drum was erected to commemorate his sacrifice and is still one of the most visited graves in Brooklyn’s Greenwood cemetery today.

The actual number of boy soldiers in the Civil War is uncertain. Although there have been exaggerations, careful historical analysis suggests that between 250,000 and 420,000 boy soldiers, including many in their early teens to even younger, served in the Union and Confederate armies. On the whole, between 10 and 20 percent of recruits were under 18. Applying modern humanitarian terminology, the war to end slavery was in large part fought by child soldiers in numbers ever greater than those found in contemporary wars.

"Child Soldiers: Victims or Heroes?" by David Rosen, FDU Magazine, Fairleigh Dickinson University, 2005.

Other Resources:

Also see Brooklyn School Decides To March to The Beat of a Different Drum by Mary Frost (, published online 03-13-2008.

And see ClarenceMcKenzieNYTArticle.pdf.

And see "The Little Drummer Boy" by B.R. Maryniak

TITLE: The little drummer boy, Clarence D. McKenzie, the child of the Thirteenth regiment, N.Y.S.M., and the child of the Mission Sunday school
AUTHORS: Bingham, Luther Goodyear, 1798-1877
PUBLISHED: New York, Board of publication of the Reformed Protestant Dutch church, 1861.
McKenzie. Clarence David, 1849-1861
New York infantry. 13th regt., 1847-1900 (Militia)
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 144 p. front. (port.) 16 cm.
NOTES: Microfilm. Washington, D. C., Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service.

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