They didn’t carry guns or, at least, they weren’t supposed to. But 9-year-olds served in the army during the American Revolution.
They were drummer boys. Often, the sounds of their drums were used to send signals from one part of an army to another. More often, the drummer boys beat out the rhythm of a march.
Sometimes, joined with the fife, the drum beat out music for the men to sing. There were no 9-year-old drummer boys in the British band that led the British army to surrender to General Washington at Yorktown. That day celebrated the impossible victory that had just been won.
The farmer-soldiers of the colonies, ill-clad and ill-fed, had finally beaten the finest army of the most powerful nation in Europe. The Americans had won their independence, and the tune the British band played that day clearly expressed the way the British felt.
The name of the music played by the British army band was “The World Turned Upside Down.”