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CLEM, JOHN LINCOLN (1851–1937). John Lincoln Clem, army officer, was born in Newark, Ohio, on August 13, 1851. In May 1861 he attempted to enlist in the Third Ohio Volunteers but was rejected because of his youth. He attached himself unofficially to the Twenty-second Michigan Infantry and participated in the battle of Shiloh as a drummer. He enlisted shortly thereafter and participated in the battle of Chickamauga, in which, at the age of twelve, he shot a Confederate colonel who demanded his surrender. After the battle, the "Drummer Boy of Chickamauga" was promoted to sergeant and placed upon the roll of honor, the youngest soldier ever to be a noncommissioned officer in the United States Army. After participating with the Army of the Cumberland in many other battles, being twice wounded and a prisoner of war, he was discharged in 1864. He returned home and graduated from high school in 1870. After he attempted unsuccessfully to enter the United States Military Academy at West Point, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him second lieutenant in the Twenty-fourth United States Infantry. Clem graduated from artillery school at Fort Monroe in 1875, transferred to the quartermaster department in 1882, and rose to the rank of major general by the time he retired in 1916. During his last years in the army he was the sole remaining Civil War veteran on active service. Clem spent a number of his army years in Texas. From 1906 to 1911 he was chief quartermaster at Fort Sam Houston; after retirement he remained in Washington for a few years, then returned to San Antonio. He married Anita Rosetta French in 1875. She died in 1899, and he married Bessie Sullivan of San Antonio in 1903. Clem was the father of two children. He died in San Antonio on May 13, 1937, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

John L. Clem, "From Nursery to Battlefield," Outlook, July 4, 1914. National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. C. Texas Magazine, November 1910. Who Was Who in America, Vol. 2.
Robert L. Talmadge

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Robert L. Talmadge, "Clem, John Lincoln," accessed January 16, 2018,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.