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Jarvis Hanks: The Sparrow Who Didn’t Fall by Brandon S Miller

Jarvis Hanks: The Sparrow Who Didn’t Fall by Brandon S Miller

In the year 1812, cannon fire and musketry once again became familiar to the American People as our young country went to war the colossal British Empire.  The roaring crash of cannon fire, however familiar it was, created deafening noise on the battlefield.  In fact, during a battle of this time period, the intensity of the uproar caused some men’s ears to bleed.  The chaos created was impossible to control and the shouts of hoarse officers fell on deaf, bleeding ears.  Officers needed a means of communicating with the troops in the deafening clamor.  One of the few sounds a soldier could hear on an early nineteenth century battlefield was the beating of drums.  Thus, drums came to be the major means of directing troops during battle, and the drummer boy came to be.

Jarvis Hanks was merely a lad when he joined the army in 1813, not quite fourteen years of age.  Raised in a Godly family in Pittsford Ohio, Jarvis had an ear for the music of the drum.  He wrote in his memoirs, “I thought it produced the most pleasing noise; I knew that the drummer occupied a conspicuous station in the ranks of a regiment.”  Following this passion, Jarvis learned how to play as he grew, and when a recruiting sergeant came to town offering $20 up front and 160 acres of land after the war to any man who joined the army; Hanks knew just what he’d do.  After gaining the permission of his father, who demanded a promise from the recruiting sergeant that the boy would only serve on the drilling grounds, Hanks joined the army and was subsequently assigned to the 11th American infantry.

After drilling and training under “The most thorough disciplinarian I (Jarvis) ever saw,” Winfield Scott, the 11th infantry was dispatched with the army into the Niagara region.  Despite promises made to the boy’s father, Hanks had to go with them.  Following an indecisive clash with the British, the Americans fell back to our side of the river and set up winter quarters.  The cold winter passed and the army moved north again.  Following the capture of Fort Erie and the battle of Chippawa, the American and British armies clashed in a battle known as the Battle of Lundy’s Lane.

During the battle, the 11th American infantry was ordered from their position over a rail fence, and onto the field of battle.  As men scrambled over the obstacle many fell down never to rise again.  Jarvis scrambled up and, in his words, “While sitting on the fence for a single instant, ready to jump off into the open lot, a charge of grape shot rattled around me with terrible threatening to my personal safety. They cut the branches of trees over my head, and on my right hand and on my left; also splintered the rails on either side and under my feet but not so much as the hair of my head was hurt! A thousand times have I reflected on this incident as the most wonderful Providential preservation from instant death.”  Jarvis survived the day and continued to serve as the 11th American infantry’s drummer until the war ended in 1815.

So this is the part of the article where I tell you that because God saved Jarvis’ life in 1814, he was able to save the world and all Western Civilization in years to come.  But the fact is, Jarvis didn’t.  He was honorably discharged from the service when the war ended and he went home.  Jarvis asked his father if he could go to the military academy at Westpoint, and his father said no.  That was that.  Instead, Jarvis Hanks finished growing, wrote his memoirs of the war, and married a beautiful wife with whom he started a family.  And that is really the point.  God didn’t have to save Jarvis’ life because Jarvis was going to change the world.  God saved Jarvis’ life because God cared for his child.  And although God weaves the marvelous history he’s planning in our world; He also has a protecting hand able to cover every one of his children in need, and He’s going to protect them, come what may.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”