In 1861, 15 year old Charley wanted to go out to war to experience what it was like to be a man. He walked from Winona, Minnesota to Fort Snelling so he wouldn't be unrecognized. Then, he began his training.
Charley trains to be a soldier, finding the experience much different from what he had imagined. Upon leaving the camp, the men are treated as heroes even before they leave town, accompanied by crowds then they get on the train to ride to their new camp,
In Virginia 1861, Charleys first battle was held near the Manassas Junction, filled with death and suffering. Later, the Battle Of Bull Run had ended.
A camp of 90,000 men was created near Washington D.C. Charley becomes part of the day-to-day routine of the camp. They belt homes for themselves there but, many of the men got diseases of dysentery and died. They later go up against another battle and won also befriending a guy named Nelson.
Charley takes part of another battle, the winter battle near Richmond,Virginia. They shot down the horses in order to defeat the calvary. After the fighting, they believe Charley had been shot. At the temporary hospital it seems the blood on his uniform wasn't his.
In 1863, Charley participates in the Battle of Gettysburg. Charley was knocked down by one of the blows and believed he was dieing. Few years later, at the age of 21, Charley believes this is the end of his life.