Professor Hoar; the recognized authority on our last and eldest veterans of the War Between the States, Professor Hoar has now explored a longstanding, unsettled issue from “The Boys’ War.” He has pioneered his way to comprehensive answers to such haunting questions as –how young were the youngest soldierboys? Who were the latest born? Who were the youngest at enlistment? Did they sacrifice their lives in any appreciable numbers? For the first time we may know there elusive answers.
Professor Hoar has synthesized widely scattered fragments of data; he has cooperated with a network of strategic Americans to bring off this original contribution to American studies. This book is a bible that lays down gospel truths about the child-soldiery who were our sincerest patriots of all. Even the noted Bell Irvin Wiley in his The Life of Billy Yank (1971), admitted with a tone of reluctance, “It is possible that boys even younger than twelve marched in the Union ranks, though the writer is not able to state this as a positive fact…The claim to the distinction of being ‘the Youngest Yank’ seems impossible of establishment.”
Professor Hoar came along, no scholar had yet been able to unravel these mysteries or shed light broadly upon these long kept secrets. Again, his forte is as a purveyor and popularize of what he calls the epic prose elegy, an emotive literary vehicle exemplified in his 1986 The South’s Last Boys in Gray, awarded a Jefferson Davis Medal by the Texas U.D.C.