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Carry Me and I'll Drum It Through

1874 Truman Howe Bartlett Born: Dorset, Vermont 1835 Died: Boston, Massachusetts 1922 bronze 47 x 19 x 20 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Peter and Paula Lunder 2002.15 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, East Wing


Gallery Label

The sounds of the Civil War resonate from this sculpture. A tired soldier sloshes through the mud of a debris-strewn battlefield, his coattail flapping in the relentless wind. He pushes onward with the roll of the little boy's drum and the call of his energetic voice. Well into the nineteenth century, armies recruited young boys to perform drum rolls signaling different commands. During the Civil War and in the following decades, the drummer boy was a favorite inspirational subject, appearing often in popular stories and images. By 1874, the story that Bartlett's sculpture illustrates was well known: The drummer boy was found by a passing soldier, who asked him why he had stopped. The boy bravely replied, "I am wounded. But carry me and I'll drum it through."

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006

Keywords

Figure group - male

Occupation - military - drummer

sculpture

About Truman Howe Bartlett

Born: Dorset, Vermont 1835 Died: Boston, Massachusetts 1922