Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Drummer Boy Robert Hendershot Carte de Visite. 2.5" x 4", on a C. Gullmann, Po'Keepsie, New York mount. A standing portrait of the young drummer boy, dressed in an elaborate uniform and holding his drumsticks in his left hand while his right arm rests upon his drum that sits on a small table. The studio scene is also decorated with a small American flag that is attached to the drum.

    War fever had gripped Jackson after the fall of Fort Sumter and like many others, Hendershot longed for the glory of battle. He claimed to be ten that summer of 1861, but like many aspects of his life, that is in dispute, as various documents give birthdates ranging from early 1846 to 1851 and no less than four different birthplaces, from Michigan to New York City. When he enlisted, Hendershot was a slight-framed boy, 4½ feet tall, with fair hair, hazel eyes and a ruddy complexion. He bore a deep scar under his right eye that he would submit as his first badge of courage. He soon dropped his implausible claim to have received that scar as the result of a severe wound at Shiloh (at the time his regiment had been camped more than 600 miles away). By the end of 1862, though, events at Fredericksburg would give him another, more believable, opportunity for fame. He apparently accompanied the Rifles to Fort Wayne, outside Detroit, where the unit became Company "C" of the 9th Michigan Infantry. Robert claimed to have enlisted along with the others, but said that the mustering officer rejected him because of extreme youth. In any case, he boarded the train that carried the regiment south, either as a stowaway or as a servant to Captain Charles V. DeLand, the commander of Company "C" and editor of Jackson's American Citizen. Robert formally enlisted in the 9th in March 1862, when the regiment moved from Kentucky to Murfreesboro, Tenn. He remained with Company "C", which was posted at the Murfreesboro courthouse as provost guards. He was there on July 13 when Confederate Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest launched a pre-dawn raid on the town. During the battle, Robert claimed that he fearlessly exposed himself to enemy fire, a claim later substantiated by several 9th Michigan soldiers. He later gained further fame for his bravery at the Battle of Fredericksburg, which earned him a meeting with President Lincoln, a new drum from Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune, and a show at P.T. Barnham's museum. From the Bret J. Formichi American Civil War Rarities Collection.

    Condition: Very clear image, with only minor wear and soiling at the corners. A few spots of soiling near Hendershot's head. Overall very good.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 340

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 July 12 Vintage Guitars & Musical Instruments Musical Instruments Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    I don’t often do testimonials but in this case I felt truly obligated to thank Heritage Auctions for the extremely professional job your organization did for me.
    Charlie K.,
    Pittsburgh, PA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search