*The Average Age of the soldier who served in the 48th Pennsylvania throughout the four years of the Civil War was 24.95 years. Of the 657 soldiers I linked to the Census Records, 84 (12.8%) were 17 or younger when the enlisted; 318 (48.4%) were between the ages of 18-24; 107 (16.3%) were between the ages of 25-30; 62 (9.4%) were between 31-35; 76 (11.6%) were between 36-45; and 10 (1.5%)were aged 46 or older.
*The Average Age of the soldiers who volunteered at the war's outset in 1861 was 23.6 years.
*The Average Age of the soldiers who were mustered into service in 1864-1865 was 26.3 years.
*The Average Age of the regiment's Commissioned Officers in 1861 was 29.2 years, nearly six years older than the average age of the volunteers of 1861. The Average Age of those who advanced to the ranks of Commissioned Officer throughout the war (i.e. those who were promoted from the ranks) was 25.95 years.
*The Average Age of those soldiers of the regiment who died of disease was 24.7 years.
*The Average Age of soldiers from the regiment who deserted was 28.2 years.
*The Average Age of soldiers who served as Substitutes (1864-1865) in the place of drafted civilians was 29.6 years.
*The Average Age of soldiers who were Drafted (1864-1865)was 30 years.
So. . .what does all of this mean?
Commissioned officers at the outset of the war averaged six years older than the volunteer/non-commissioned officer, but as the war dragged on, this average greatly decreased to the point where commissioned officers averaged just one year older than the soldiers they commanded.
The soldiers who volunteered in 1861 averaged 2.7 years younger than those who were mustered in during the years of 1864-1865. This is partly attributable to the higher ages of those who entered the regiment as either conscripts or substitutes. It is in these two categories that we see the greatest difference in average ages. The drafted soldier averaged 5 years older than the volunteer, and the substitute averaged 4.65 years older than the volunteer.
Finally, soldiers who deserted averaged 3.25 years older than the regimental average.
These numbers get more interesting when cross-categorized with a soldier's marital status, income level, and ethnicity. . . In the weeks to come, I'll update this blog with more socio-economic information on the soldiers who served in the 48th.
Samuel Beddall was just 17 years old when he enlisted as a private in Company E, 48th PA Vols. By the end of the war, Beddall was a sergeant and from October 1864-July 1865, he was the regimental color bearer.