" Co. B are all Old Abes Boys, "wrote Frank Crowell about the 1864 election. Frank and his comrades were also Lincoln's boys in another sense.They were the soldiers who enforced Lincoln' s authority. This is a study of the enlisted men who served in the Illinois infantry regiments during the Civil War. The boys were the ones who faced the Confederates on the field of battle. Without them, all the speeches Lincoln ever made would be meaningless. This study attempts to explain how the boys lived and ate,marched and fought, and died. It also looks at their opinions on the important subjects of the issues involved in the war, their leaders, their enemies and themselves. This is not a study of nameless masses, though. The boys I use as sources have names and personalities. They were all boys, too, regardless of age. Day Elmore told his brother and sister about an informal association of soldiers, called a "mess," to which he belonged . " [T]here is 10 of the best boys in our mess I Ever got in with, thay are not all boys. [T]hare is one 40 years of age • • • and Another 35.
Consequently, I refer to the enlisted men as "the boys" throughout the paper.
Wells, Peter R., "Lincoln's Boys: The Enlisted Men of the Illinois Infantry in the Civil War" (1987). Honors Projects. Paper 46.