1863 A.D.: INFANTRY MADE UP OF INFANTS!
DURING the Civil War, the Confederacy won a victory in the Battle of Chickamauga and the North’s need for more soldiers forced President Lincoln to create a new branch of the infantry.
“A fierce patriot, Lincoln felt that all Americans should do their part in the war,” said Civil War historian Daniel Grey. “That’s why the new infantry consisted of drafted infants.”
While the babies in this new infantry weren’t required to fight, they did serve other functions. They were first used in military observation balloons.
“Hot air balloons were used for reconnaissance,” said Grey. “The babies were employed as ballast.
Although the babies were strapped to the outside of the gondolas, surveyors had to keep their ears plugged to block out all the crying. The babies were quite helpful in keeping the balloons from flying away.”
Drool was also a useful commodity.
“There was a shortage of oil in those days, and many of the union sabers were rusting from rain and blood,” said Grey. “Ulysses S. Grant realized that baby saliva was almost as good at keeping swords in good fighting condition. There was enough saliva to keep every sword in the Union from rusting.”
Babies also saw action on the front lines.
“Despite their young age, seasoned soldiers were able to show babies how to load muskets,” said Grey.
“Fortunately, the infants enjoyed shoving the ramrod in and out of the muzzle. Even amidst explosions, the babies were having fun.”
If it hadn’t been for Lincoln’s daring initiative, the outcome of the war might have been very different.
“It was certainly more successful than his other idea, which was to use baby cows as mounts,” said Grey. “The ‘calvealry’ never quite caught on.”