Being a minor, Lake was required to have permission to enlist. His mother, Sharlett[sic] Lake, made her mark on the permission form. Lake’s father was alive and well on 1 December 1864. Why he did not sign his son’s permission for is not known.
This form is contained in Lake’s compiled military service record. Fold3.com has these Civil War materials online for some states, but not all. All Civil War compiled service records have been microfilmed by the National Archives and are available through the Family History Library.
This enlistment form (assuming all the information is correct) indicates that William Lake was seventeen years of age on 1 December 1864. This would mean that he was born between:
- 2 December 1846–if he turned 18 on 2 December 1864
- 1 December 1847–if 1 December was his 17th birthday
I am operating under the assumption that Charlotte Lake provided accurate information about her son’s age. She would have had first hand knowledge of how old her son was and I will also assume that her memory was accurate at the time she granted William permission to enlist. Charlotte would have provided primary information in regards to her son’s age.
How she felt about signing his enlistment form is another matter. Those details never got recorded.