Thursday, August 21, 2014

Let Slip the Dogs of War, Part 2

My fondness for all things canine has led me to another post about Union dogs. There's no special theme to this one, just a few images and captions.

This is Jack, the dog that fought with the 5th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. That regiment's historian left a lengthy account of Jack's service. Here's what he had to say:

When the regiment passed through Winchester, a black and tan terrier, weighing perhaps fifteen pounds, joined it and became domiciled in Company F. He was named Jack, and although he was not a handsome dog in any respect, he very soon became, on account of his intelligence, a very general favorite. He was a remarkably successful dog in a fight, and would generally maintain himself against any other dog of twice his weight or less. He was fleet and would often overtake and catch a rabbit in a straight away run.

He had a peculiar respect for the commanding officer of whatever detachment or expedition he was upon. If the whole company was out, he kept close to the captain. If only a platoon he kept with the lieutenant in command. If only a sergeant and squad he kept with the sergeant. On dress parades, which he was very particular to attend, he left the company and went to the rear of the colonel or commander of parade and there seated himself and watched the parade with as much interest and dignity as if had pay [paid] for it, or had to make a report of it. He never was known in but one instance to seat himself between the colonel and the regiment. At night he would manage to get inside the blanket and curl around the feet of whoever he slept with, and he was as good as a hot brick for a cold night. He knew how, also, to keep himself free from fleas and vermin of every kind, which was more than his tent mates could do at all times. He took a general supervision of affairs, and at daylight always turned out and nosed around the cook till he was started, and then would look up the orderly and start him. Although all soldiers looked alike, he could tell a Company F man as far as he could see him from any other soldier without mistake, and he never followed others. Of that company for a long time he did not attach himself to anyone in particular, but like some politicians, whenever there was a division went with the majority.

In battle he became highly excited and faced the rebels several feet ahead of the company line, and expressed all the exasperation that a dog can ever show towards an enemy. If they ran he would follow them up and get in his little nip at some of their disloyal heels if it was possible. The striking of a shell into the ground near him would make him almost wild, and he would spring about in all directions as if it were possible he was trying to see and catch the missile that had caused such commotion.

I don't know the name of this dog, but he or she has accompanied his or her master, now an amputee.
This dog belonged to a soldier in the 51st Massachusetts Infantry.
This image depicts Brig. Gen. Henry M. Naglee and his staff. Naglee's dog lounges in the front. If anyone knows the name of Naglee's dog, please let me know.
This corporal (who appears to have joined a late-war Pennsylvania regiment) took his puppy with him to the photographer's studio.
This image depicts Brig. Gen. Alexander Asboth (wearing what appears to be a cape with an American flag design) seated with his dog, York.
This is Dash, the Fire Dog, who belonged to the 23rd Pennsylvania. During the Peninsula Campaign, he became too fat to accompany the regiment, so the unit sent him home to Philadelphia. During the voyage back home, Dash mysteriously disappeared.
This brigadier general poses with his dog.
These are the officers of USS Miami. Their dogs are up front.
This dog's name is Major. He belonged to the 10th and 29th Maine. One member of the regiment described the scene as Major went into battle at Antietam: "Our old dog MAJOR behaved well under fire, barking fiercely and keeping up a steady growl from the time we went in till we came out. He had thus contributed his part towards the uproar which some consider so essential in battle. He had shown so much genuine pluck, moreover, that the men of [Company] H were bragging of his barking, and of his biting at the sound of the bullets, asserting besides that he was 'tail up' all day." 
In April 1864, Major was killed in action at the Battle of Sabine Crossroads. John Mead Gould described the sadness caused by his death: "Beside this gloom there was another casualty that perhaps ought to be mentioned with the first, yet the fact I record, the death of our old dog MAJOR cast a gloom over the whole regiment just as when one of the best and most loved of officers are killed. In going up the hill before the fight old 'Maje' barked at the flying cavalrymen fiercely and when the regiment opened upon the enemy he ran from right to left and back as if mad. A bullet hit him by and by and we left him at the front of the regiment just where he fell. He was with the old 10th in all of their campaigns." The two soldiers holding him in this photograph are Corporal William W. Wentworth and Sergeant Hezekiah Elwell.
This is the only known photograph of Sallie, the most famous regimental mascot. She belonged to the 11th Pennsylvania.
This image depicts the 104th Ohio's regimental band. The regiment's beloved mascot, Harvey, sits at the far left.
This dog is Union Jack. Soldiers from the 1st Maryland liberated him from a Front Royal jail and he accompanied the regiment throughout its harrowing actions in the Shenandoah Valley. Believe it or not, Union Jack got a full-page story in Harper's Weekly. Here it is:

The poetic incidents of this war would fill many an interesting volume could they be collected by some able hand; and it would appear that it is not man alone who is being roused to deeds of heroism, but that even the brute creation are catching the contagion. The distinguished individual who forms the subject of this brief memoir, and whose portrait graces our present number, is the already-famous “UNION JACK” or “JACK”—as he is more briefly and familiarly called among his friends. We are not aware of Jack’s entertaining any ambitious desire of being promoted to the rank of a Brigadier-General, nor have we heard of any intention, on his part, to get up a grand bow-wowing demonstration in any of our crowded theatres; but this excessive modesty should not induce us to hide his merits. Although walking upon four legs, he has exhibited far more courage, devotion, trust-worthiness, and other noble human qualities—indeed done more actual good to our army—than many a shoulder-strapped and gold-bedizened animal now walking upon two legs.

The writer of this sketch first had the honor of becoming acquainted with Jack at Fortress Monroe, on the interesting occasion of the arrival there of our liberated prisoners from Richmond—some 160 officers—on the 19th of August last. He seemed to belong to nobody in particular, but followed these officers every where about the Hygeia Hotel, receiving such caresses and marks of deep affection from every officer that we were tempted to inquire into his history.

He is a young dog of the mastiff breed, of medium size and jetty blackness, except a white breast and a dash of white on each of his four paws. His manners are very gentle and even timid among his friends, but he is suspicious and fierce as a lion when among his enemies. Although born in Secessia, and breathing constantly the air of treason, he is intensely loyal to the Union, and betrays a hatred of any thing in the shape of a rebel, which many of our “conservative” and “neutral” loyalists in the North would do well to imitate.

Jack originally belonged to a rebel jailer in Front Royal, Virginia, when Company F and I of the First Maryland regiment were there on provost guard duty. When Jackson made an advance upon the place, these companies fell back to join their regiment in repelling him, and, after a severe action, were surrounded by Jackson, taken prisoners, and brought back to Front Royal. It was on this occasion that Jack’s great military, loyal, and social qualities were first brought into conspicuous display. When Companies F and I left Front Royal to take the field, Jack insisted upon accompanying them, in spite of all his master’s efforts to detain him. He proceeded with them to the battle-field—keeping company with the officers as he went along—and his first exploit was trying hard to unearth a cannon-ball which he had seen bury itself near him. Presently the shells began to scream and burst in the air all around him. When Jack saw them coming, instead of running to hide himself—as it is said many a blustering bully does—he ran barking after the fragments and trying to catch them; thinking, no doubt, that it was some pyrotechnic display got up for his especial amusement.

This settled the question of Jack’s bravery, and from this time forward he seemed to form an affection for our officers, and they for him, which nothing could alter, and he has accompanied them through all their vicissitudes and changes of prison to Richmond. The stories told of this dog’s sagacity and devotion would seem incredulous had they not come from the most varied and reliable sources. On the road, when our parched men were fainting from thirst, he would always run forward, and whenever he discovered a pool of water would rush back, barking loudly, to tell them of it. When they were supplied with only five crackers to each man for five days—with no meat—and our poor fellows were literally dying from starvation, this noble animal has been known to go and catch chickens for them and to bring them in his mouth! Or he would waylay every rebel horse or wagon passing with food, and bark imploringly for them to bring relief. On one occasion, when a sick and exhausted Union soldier had been left behind, Jack staid with him for several hours until a wagon took him up.

But one of the most remarkable features in his character is his utter hatred of the rebels. His actions, in this respect, really seemed to go beyond brute instinct. No kindness, no attempt at caressing could get the “gray-coats” to win him over or even induce him to take food from them; but he growled and snapped at them upon all occasions, until many threatened to shoot him. When they got to the Richmond prison, another large dog was there being fondled by a secesh officer, and Jack stood looking at both, apparently with the greatest hatred and disgust. When the officer left, the secesh dog tried to scrape an acquaintance with Jack, but the latter did not covet any such friendship. He rushed upon the canine rebel, gave him a sound thrashing, and, although larger than himself, fairly tossed him over his head.

Jack is a great disciplinarian. When on duty, he knows the various roll-calls so well that he pays no attention to any of them but one—that of his officers. As soon as he heard this, he used to run about in the greatest excitement, as if to call his friends together, and then, placing himself alongside of the drummer, would put up his nose and commence a long howl—the boys used to say answering to his name. In traveling he seemed to take the whole responsibility upon himself. Whenever the cars stopped he was invariably the first to jump off, and the whistle no sooner sounded than he was the first to jump on again.

But no character is perfect, and we are sorry to say there is a serious blemish in Jack’s. He is an aristocrat of the first water; one of the regular out-and-out F.F.V.’s. From first to last—except to help them when in distress—he never would associate with privates, but always stuck fast to where the shoulder-straps were assembled. But, after all, in this respect poor Jack is only following the example of many a human toady and tuft-hunter that can be called to mind; and before we blame this young puppy for cringing to the rich and great, let us remember that he is not the only puppy who does so.

Upon the whole, Jack is an immense favorite with all who know him, but especially the First Maryland regiment, who claim him as their own, and who were tickled at the idea of seeing him handed down to immortality in the pages of Harper. They expressed a determination of having, as soon as they got to Baltimore, a splendid collar made expressly for their favorite; and we shall be surprised if this lucky dog does not become a great lion in the monumental city.

Anyway, those are my dog tales.

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