Often called ''William'' Black, Edward has the (often debated) honor of being the youngest Soldier to serve in The American Civil War of 1861 to 1865. While The Union Army specified that a Recruit be at least 18 years old, many 15 to 17 year old boys lied about their age in order to serve. While Edward could not ''fight'' He was allowed to serve as a Drummer Boy at the age of 9. He was assigned to The 21st Indiana Infantry Regiment in 1861.
Drummer Boys, while often positioned in the front Ranks of a Regiment in March, often were sent to The Rear to help with the wounded (especially if they were so young). Edward however would met History one day at The Battle of Baton Rouge (Louisiana, 1862). Young Edward took a Minie Ball to His lower arm. He (and others would be captured by Rebel Forces and imprisoned). He was treated well by Confederate Doctors (who did not take His arm as a result of his battlefield trauma). Edward would be among the first to be exchanged for a Rebel Prisoner (as was common in the early years of The War).
US President Lincoln, while no doubt proud of the young boys who served as Drummers in The Army, felt it wrong for those too young. Soon after Edwards release, Lincoln forbade the use of Drummer Boys, citing they too be at least 18 years old. Edward would be mustered out of The Union Army by 1863. But Edward never quite recovered from his wounds at Baton Rouge. He died of purposed complications of his trauma in 1872, at 17 years of age. He was afforded a full Military Funeral in The City of Indianapolis, Indiana.