Drummer William H. Horsfall
Company G, 1st Kentucky Infantry.
21 May 1862.
Billy Horsfall, was not only one of the youngest combat soldiers in US history he is also one of the youngest soldiers to earn the Medal of Honor.
At 15 he had already fought in Western Theater’s most major engagements and survived.
In December of 1861 at 14 Horsfall stowed away on a steamship with a Union regiment.
He enlisted in Company G of the 1st Kentucky Volunteer Infantry as a Drummer Boy – His enlistment papers cite him as 4’-3” and listed his occupation as schoolboy.
Horsfall fought in April of 1862 and was recorded to be deadly as a sniper. During the Siege at Coriinth, he took part in a daring charge against a superior enemy. His Captain fell severely wounded between the lines.
Young Billy Horsfall ran back into the open and dragged his wounded officer back to where stretcher bearers could attend to him. – Captain Williamson survived his wounds and Billy was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Later in life Horsfall described the incident in a matter of fact manner with no recognition of the valor he had exhibited as a boy.
“Lt. Hocke, approaching me, said, Horsfall,
Captain Williamson is in a serious predicament,
rescue him if possible. –
So I placed my gun against a tree and in a stooping run,
gained his side and dragged him to the stretcher bearers,
who took him to the rear.”
William H. Horsfall, was but 15 years old when he earned the Medal of Honor for his actions valor at the Siege of Corinth, Mississippi on May 21, 1862. He continued to fight with the 1st Kentucky for the rest of 1862.
At Stones River, Tennessee, Horsfall was almost captured but as he put it – “I was surrounded by hostile infantry, but the Rebels took pity my youth, enabling me to run for my life.”
Drummer-Boy William Horsfall died at age the age of 75, on October 22, 1922.