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Will at the Battle of Gettysburg 1863 (Boys of Wartime)

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  202 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Twelve-year-old Will wants to be a drummer in the Union army, but he's stuck far from the fighting in his sleepy hometown of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Then the Union and Confederate armies converge on Gettysburg, and suddenly Will and his family are caught up in the battle.

From delivering important messages and helping the wounded to even saving a young soldier's life, Wil
ebook, 144 pages
Published February 17th 2011 by Puffin Books (first published February 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30)
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Vera Godley
May 21, 2012 Vera Godley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: school libraries, children ages 8-12
Laurie Calkhoven writes for the young reader. Chapter books that are full of accurate historical detail and that capture the attention and imagination of the young reader. Her story telling is an experience will guide the young reader into a better understanding of the historical event.

My 8-year-old granddaughter's review of the books:
I read three books by Laurie Calkhoven. They were all about different wars. In Will at the Battle of Gettysburg I really liked how he showed lots of courage. This
Feb 23, 2012 L12_Robyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-fic
Will at the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 by Laurie Calkhoven takes place during the civil war at the Battle of Gettysburg. Young Will, 12 years old, dreams of joining in on the battle. When the war comes to town, Will soon discovers that war is very difficult. Throughout the story, we see Will help the Union soldiers, befriend a young Confederate drummer, deliver messages across enemy lines and show a tremendous amount of bravery. The story shares the emotion over President Lincoln delivering the ...more
Ms. Yingling
In June of 1863, the small town of Gettysburg is atwitter when they realize a battle will be coming their way. Will, who would dearly love to join the army as a drummer boy, thinks that it will be an exciting adventure. When the Rebels arrive, however, he realizes that it is more serious. The blacks in town are rounded up and subjected to ill treatment; this angers will, who rushes at a soldier, allowing a few of the blacks to escape. He is on the verge of being sent to prison, but the young sol ...more
Jun 29, 2011 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it because I feel that it got the message that war was-and still is-brutal and bloody. It showed both sides of the story, Union and Confederate. I also liked the fact that it shows that the war wasn't completely about slavery-it was mostly about the upset of the balance of power between the states and the government. The Emancipation Proclamation, which was vaguely talked about in this book, put slavery in the picture. Overall, this book was a great mix of excitement and truth. In the en ...more
May 09, 2017 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
Good children's historical fiction novel about Gettysburg.
Margo Tanenbaum
May 11, 2011 Margo Tanenbaum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-war
This second offering in Laurie Calkhoven's Boys of Wartime series for middle-grade readers tells the compelling story of 12-year old Will, who lives in the quiet town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and dreams of glory as a Union drummer boy. He's too young to enlist without his parents' permission, which his mother is not about to give, but when the book opens Will has no idea of the important role he'll be asked to play for the Union cause.

As Confederate troops march into the town, prowling the st
May 14, 2014 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: students-read, dawson
A great read but should be 10+
This is my favorite Boys of Wartime book because it contains a lot of action-adventure. The reason I say it should be for age 10 and up is because Gettysburg is the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Lots of soldiers die or are severely wounded and need to have limbs removed (which is only possible by sawing the appendage off, making for some less than pleasant scenes). But if you are old enough to handle that, it’s fine.
It was really great to read about Gettysb
From March 2011 SLJ:
Gr 4-7–Twelve-year-old Will dreams of the heroic exploits he will undertake once he convinces his parents that he is old enough to be a drummer in the Union Army. However, when war comes, he finds that combat isn’t nearly as glorious as he had imagined. At the end of June and into July, the 2400 residents of his town are thrust into the middle of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Will finds himself actively participating–more reluctantly than in his earlier daydr
Awesome! This is the second in the Boys of Wartime series. Told from Will's perspective, he can't understand why his mother won't let him be a drummer boy in the war. He sees the excitement and wants to help out. Then when the Battle of Gettysburg comes to his town and he sees realities of war, he becomes involved in a way he never imagined. Great fast moving plot; definitely get a feel for the times and challenges. Font is slightly larger and nicely spread out so it makes for an easy read. One ...more
Will lives in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania with his mother and three sisters. His father is a doctor helping out in Washington and his brother is a prisoner of the South. It is 1863 and the Civil War is raging. Will dreams of being a drummer boy for the Union Army and doing heroic deeds, but his mom won't let him join up. Then the war comes to Gettysburg. The bloodiest battle of the War is fought right on Will's doorstep and he is right in the middle of it. He finds that war is not heroic deeds and ...more
Joseph Pickering
Will at the Battle of Gettysburg 1863
Laurie Calkhoven

Will at the Battle of Gettysburg 1863 is about a young boy named Will. Will wants to join the Union army as a drummer, but his mom won't let him join. Will has to make daring missions for the Union army as a spy and he learns that war isn't great for any side.

This book is a good read because Will teaches the reader about the battle and also entertains the reader. And Will learns that the Civil War isn't just about white and black, but about th
Jul 24, 2013 Marcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am glad this was on the MO Mark Twain Award list for this year...I love reading kids stories that tie in the Civil War. Our MS students study the Civil War and this will make a great addition to the books they read for their Comm. Arts class.

I picked it up this afternoon and read it all in one day...I only stopped for supper and then went back to it to finish up. I liked how Laurie tied the real people, fictional characters, and the battle into one story. It was very believable. I felt like I
Cole Cucitrone
Mar 24, 2015 Cole Cucitrone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book "Will at the battle of Gettysburg" by Laurie Calkhoven was a great book about the batle of Gettysburg. Willmeets a 12 year old drummer named Abel. hey talk quite a bit and then he invited him to dinner. It was really awkward because he was a patriot and Abel was a rebel. Adventually Abel leaves and war starts in Will's town. Mother suggests that he should take his sister Grace and also his two little siblings to a farm three miles away. All of a sudden patroits start retreating and rebe ...more
Phyllis Haislip
Jun 16, 2012 Phyllis Haislip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very nicely researched and written, my only reservation was on p. 19 “I guess the war made it too dangerous for most slaves to escape.” Even though this is only a character guessing, the opposite was indeed true. The author manages to sustain the drama throughout. Book contains a map, timeline, author note, glossary, list of historical characters and note about children in the Civil War. Are middle grade novels getting longer and longer? At just over 200 pages, this was okay, but I still felt it ...more
Another book I read specifically because it is one of the nominees for the Missouri Mark Twain Readers award. I think this book will have many of our kids running out to find out more about the Civil War era once they're done reading it. It follows the life of Will Edmonds, a fictitious 12 year old boy, who can't wait to join the war. He ends up finding himself a little too close for comfort when the war ends up in his backyard, almost literally. I learned many facts I didn't know about the Batt ...more
Jun 14, 2013 Simone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 6th and 7th graders
This was a very good book set in 1863 at the battle of Gettysburg. Will is almost twelve when this book is set. The rebels are on one side of their town and the Union army is on the other. a battle is brewing and it looks like Gettysburg is going to be stuck right in the middle of it. So will does what he can, helping his mom with the hospital they are running. But when a colonel entrusts him with an important message to sneak across the enemy lines, will young Will be brave enough to deliver it ...more
Books Kids Like
This second book in the Boys of Wartime series is much better than the first one- Daniel at the Siege of Boston. The author catches the reader's attention at the beginning and holds it throughout the book. I really enjoyed reading about the Battle of Gettysburg from the citizens' viewpoint. The people of Gettysburg watched as the Rebel and Union forces battled in the streets before they deployed to the hills and fields around town. The wounded soldiers filled the houses and barns as the women tr ...more
Sep 18, 2011 Handd51 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this Civil War story veyr much and will use it with 7th grade students. It is historically accurate and reads as an edxciting adventure. Will is 12ish in Gettysburg when the Rebs march in - and out again. He tries to protect the free blacks the Rebs capture - but only gets himself in trouble. Much later, we learn that he did cause enough confusion to let 3 escape to hiding. He also gets pressed into service for a Union General and he palys quite a role, based on more than one real acco ...more
Mar 09, 2012 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, juvenile
Nicely balanced telling of one of the pivotal battles of the Civil War. Ms. Calkhoven includes both the Confederate and Union perspectives sympathetically and drills home the message that war is brutal, bloody, and unpleasant. Historical details are plentiful and accurate, though I found some of the characterization a bit two-dimensional and stiff (especially Will's older sister - ugh!).

For more book reviews, come visit my blog, Build Enough Bookshelves.
Oct 26, 2011 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book in the Boys of Wartime series, and is an exciting read. Will lived in the town of Gettysburg, but he never thought that a battle would be fought right there in the homes and fields where he lived. The Civil War seemed like an exciting and even romantic way to become a hero, but when the war came to his small town, he found that being brave was a lot harder than he had thought. And he learned that the enemy often looks a lot like us.

Excellent book for ages 8-12.
Feb 15, 2012 Holly rated it really liked it
Shelves: harrison
The book is about a war between the union and the rebels in Gettysburg. THe rebels taake a lot of their things like horses, crops, food. There were no pictures in this book but on the cover there was a picture of him looking at the war. The book wasa little hard to understand but the book had a glossary and it was easier to comprehend. I liked the book because now I knoe=w a lot about the war and what theydid back then like going to the well to get their water.
Apr 06, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderfully engaging story with lots of action and adventure. The author weaves true events from the lives of children, characters, and battles of the Civil War into her story. This is one of a series of books called "Boys of Wartime". Ms. Calkhoven also includes some graphic descriptions of wounded and dead soldiers in her book, something to keep in mind when recommending the book to someone.
Jan 04, 2013 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young boy dreams of joining up to fight in the war and become a hero. His unexpected experiences with life as a citizen in the midst of war give him a greater understanding of war and heroism than he would have guessed. One of the things I enjoyed about this book was the way the author shared how people on both sides were good people, that differing opinions don't have to keep us from being friends or treating people with respect.
Jul 22, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great historical fiction about a family living in Gettysburg during the civil war. I love how this author documents at the end which stories are true or based on the lives of real people. Quite descriptive of the wounded and their amputations, yet still a good read for older children. We loved it as a read aloud.
Henry Walker
Dec 12, 2013 Henry Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was overall a good book. It started out kind of boring, and as it progressed, it became very graphic and interesting. I was glad to see that the main characters family survived. It had a good description of the Battle at Gettysburg and seemed to have a reenactment element in it.
Jan 02, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boys of Wartime are wonderful historical fiction. The books have a boy as the central character(he is fictional) that is in the middle of the event that we know as history. Calkhoven does include some real settings and people from the historical event that she is writing about and of course the historical event is true as well.
Barb G
Nov 06, 2015 Barb G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: andrew
My 11 year old and I both liked this story. I gave it four stars because the content made you feel like you were in Gettysburg with young Will. It gave new meaning to
Lincoln's address for me. My only problem was that it was written for younger readers, with short sentences that didn't flow well for reading aloud. Despite that, I'm looking forward to reading more books in this series.
Jul 31, 2014 Kendra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fictional account of the Battle of Gettysburg as seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy, a resident of the town of Gettysburg. The author based the story on the eyewitness accounts of many of the residents of the time.
May 06, 2012 Erica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this with my 8 year old son. We both enjoyed the story. There were some graphic parts, but it is a story about a boy caught in a major battle during the Civil War. I cried. My son loved it. Definitely would recommend it for historical fiction fans, young and old.
May 03, 2014 Vincewarrior rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Portrayed the Civil war really good but the main character is a boy and never fights he is however on the frontlines of the bloodiest battle on American soil and helps out a various soldiers north and south. very good book. And he often day dreams about being a drummer boy.
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