Confederate Hounds

Lubliner

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Nov 27, 2018
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Chattanooga, Tennessee
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Hoping this is in the proper forum, I came across a report that proved the value of our 'lovable' four-footed friends.

On August 29, 1864, the commissary of subsistence had a herd of cattle grazing on Coggin’s Point in Virginia about 10 miles away from City Point. This was opposite Harrison’s Landing on the James River. By September 15 there were 2, 486 head of cattle on hand. On that day the cattle were moved to the Harrison farms two miles from the river and one mile nearer City Point. The cattle were grazed, watered and corralled before sunset, with the usual night watch on guard; a detachment of the Thirteenth Regiment Pennsylvania Cavalry and the First District of Columbia Cavalry. At about 4:45 a. m. on the 16th​ of September, the picket line was attacked at all points simultaneously by confederates, and within 20 minutes had surrounded the cattle and either shot down, taken prisoner, or dispersed all the guard.

“The enemy was commanded by Generals Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee. Their force was large. With it was a regiment called the Home Guard, raised in this county; also eight pieces of artillery, together with mounted infantry. They numbered in all about 6,000. With the enemy was a large number of hounds and herding dogs that attacked the cattle furiously and hurried them off….the cattle were thriving and healthy, and as I thought, safe up to the hour of their complete capture by the enemy.” Captain Richardson, Volunteer Commissary of Subsistence.
[ Official Records, Series 1, Volume 42, Part 1, page 27-30].

These dogs must have been somewhat trained by their handlers, shown by the silence maintained as the confederates encircled the detailed Yankees. Any thoughts on this?
Lubliner.
 
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donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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May 12, 2010
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Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
The mention of herding dogs included collies, sheepdogs, etc. I did look up the Herding Group from the American Kennel Club. Also checked out the hound group. I think by using both they could work together to round up the cattle. It be interesting to know which breeds were involved in this story.
 

Lubliner

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Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
How knowledgeable Captain Richardson was concerning breed identification can maybe be questioned. I would know collies and German shepherds, and beagles, etc. These men that helped guide the confederate cavalry were specifically from the area, possibly the south side of the James. It was supposed to have been two brothers. The cavalry and hounds drove the herd toward the Blackwater River. Richardson did know a lot of details concerning this group with the brief and hectic time he was in the midst of the overwhelming charge. So with the farmland in that vicinity, it is possible a large group of these animals were bred and raised nearby. It sounds from his report as though the dogs came in simultaneously upon the herd. But this herd was guarded and had pickets thrown out all around about a mile. They came in from three directions, and stampeded the whole herd, making away with the full lot.
Thanks,
Lubliner.
 

Lubliner

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Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
A few hours ago @bschulte provided a link to a Petersburg Siege site here; Beyond The Crater: The Siege of Petersburg Online | The Civil War on the Web (civilwartalk.com). While perusing the site I came across The Beefsteak Raid, in the 'Maps' section and thought I should share it to develop the situation described in the Official Records, mentioned above in the OP. Three maps were provided and I chose the 'Hampton's plan of Attack' , at this link;
MAP: Hampton’s Plan of Attack, Beefsteak Raid: September 16, 1864 — The Siege of Petersburg Online (beyondthecrater.com).
Thanks,
Lubliner.
 

bschulte

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
A few hours ago @bschulte provided a link to a Petersburg Siege site here; Beyond The Crater: The Siege of Petersburg Online | The Civil War on the Web (civilwartalk.com). While perusing the site I came across The Beefsteak Raid, in the 'Maps' section and thought I should share it to develop the situation described in the Official Records, mentioned above in the OP. Three maps were provided and I chose the 'Hampton's plan of Attack' , at this link;
MAP: Hampton’s Plan of Attack, Beefsteak Raid: September 16, 1864 — The Siege of Petersburg Online (beyondthecrater.com).
Thanks,
Lubliner.

I used some old period county maps to make this one and others like it during the 150th anniversary posts I made in 2014-2015. There just aren't any good maps for some of these things, so although I'm a terrible artist, I was forced to make some maps to accompany my text. Warren's Applejack Raid on the Weldon Railroad is another example of one with no great maps available online. I think Petersburg National Battlefield even used my maps when they did a post on the raid this past year.
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
I used some old period county maps to make this one and others like it during the 150th anniversary posts I made in 2014-2015. There just aren't any good maps for some of these things, so although I'm a terrible artist, I was forced to make some maps to accompany my text. Warren's Applejack Raid on the Weldon Railroad is another example of one with no great maps available online. I think Petersburg National Battlefield even used my maps when they did a post on the raid this past year.
Your work is very much appreciated. Thank you.
Lubliner.
 

CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
In the days before fencing laws, livestock was free range and hounds would have been used to track the cattle in an effort to round them up. In FL for instance, I have an in-law who is a direct descendant of Mose Barber (of theBarber-Mizell feud), who from his homestead in central FL, would raid cattle in the Lake Okeechobee area belonging to the Seminoles. He became a large land owner, rancher, and supplier of beef to the CSA. I would imagine all manner of hounds, bulldogs, curs and such could be trained to work cattle in some fashion. He was reported to have had many dogs used for this and other purposes:

The famous bulldogs and the Indian attacks
For protection of his sheep and other stock against wolves, whompus cats (panthers), and bears, Mose needed dogs, many dogs. Mose had so many dogs it took a beef a day to feed them. A youngster named Starling (Jeff and Manning’s father Abraham or grandfather _________) from the Georgia Bend was a hired hand at the Barber Plantation and was in charge of the feeding.

In addition to discouraging predators, the large dog pack was to keep the Indians away and warn of any brave enough to approach the plantation house. It was said the Indians were very fearful of the dogs and tried to kill them with arrows from an upwind position so as not to give their presence away. A few of the animals fell victims to the arrows. However, the attack on the dogs set them a’howling and barking, and the Indians were foiled again. This was info from Mr. Manning Starling of Macclenny.

Mose decided to add seven vicious bulldogs to his already great dog population at the plantation after an Indian almost killed his boss slave Jason (see this story under the heading Mary Ellen Barber Hale). The bulldogs were also used for the purpose of keeping slaves in line and for hunting those who dared try to escape. He trained his dogs by sending a slave into the woods and then setting the dogs loose on the trail. Knowing what would happen to him if he were caught, no slave was careless enough to allow him self to be a victim of the dogs. Some of the slaves seemed to relish the training as if it were a game. It was probably the nearest they came to feeling even a hint of freedom. It was said that one in particular often asked if he could be the fake prey, and he devised different creative ruses to throw the dogs off his trail. His slaves were too valuable to be damaged, so Mose made certain that none was caught…just treed. However he once sic-ed the dogs too soon and a slave was badly bitten on the heel as he was climbing an oak. Mose saw that the wounded heel was medicated and caused to heal. I heard that slave became the fastest runner in the quarters, notwithstanding he had suffered a badly damaged heel.

Mose was evidently fond of his pack of dogs, but he never brooked lack of discipline from them. He used his cow whip to keep them in line, especially at mealtime. The bulldogs ate first, then the pregnant and nursing *****es, and finally the remainder of the pack. Each went to its assigned place at the feeding trough. Any dog getting out of place, dashing for the feeding trough, or tying up for a fight felt Mose’s cow whip.

For many years Mose kept a small cur with him at all times. The little dog was an “Indian smeller” that warned its master of Indians in the neighborhood. It (never heard anyone mention the cur’s gender) was with its master at all times and was said to be able to detect Indians even upwind. When Mose was horseback the cur sat in the saddle in front of him, and when he was in a wagon or other wheeled vehicle, the little dog was in the seat next to him. Its first alert was the hair on its nape standing on end. The second alert was an almost inaudible low growl. I was told the little dog never growled or raised its hair unless it smelled Indians.
 

CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
More about "cow dogs" from the narrative:

Cowboy" is a term created by 19th century eastern newsmen. In Florida he was a “cow hunter” (later also called a “cow puncher”), and the stockowner or dealer was a “cow man” or “cattleman.” Florida was the first cow country in what is now the United States, and the Diego Plains, now the general area of Ponte Vedra and Palm Valley in Saint Johns County, was the first Florida cattle range. From the early Spanish vaqueros along the Guano River almost 400 years ago, through the English herdsmen on the lower Saint Johns and the Anglo-Celtic-American cow hunters of territorial days, down to the modern beef industry of Florida (especially the central part), the state has remained among the country’s top beef producers. The descendents of the original Spanish cattle were tough, long horned, and known to the Crackers as “scrub cattle” or “piney woodsers” and were important in combining with later introduced breeds to create the perfect animal on the hoof for the often unfriendly Florida climate and habitats. Cow dogs, wiry mongrels with a strong serving of bull dog in them, were indispensable in bringing cows out of the scrubs and swamps. Old time Florida cows were wild and the cowpuncher often had to sic the dogs on the meaner ones to hold them until the roper arrived. As the red wolf disappeared from the Florida woods in the first decades of the 20th century, the scrub cows’ long horns of defense were bred out…so were the gores of accident and battle that gave opportunity to the screwworm fly.
 
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