Dick, "Chicken" of the Regiment

LoyaltyOfDogs

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Location
Gettysburg area
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In his 1874 history of the 96th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, J.T. Woods, the regiment's surgeon, paid tribute to the soldiers' special pet, Dick, a Shanghai rooster:

"Dick was only a chicken, and was the property of Col. Brown. The reason why he was the protected pet of the regiment we leave to be determined by Darwin.

"To the general reader it may seem a very trifling, even an unworthy matter, but to the members of the command this sketch would be unpardonably incomplete without a notice of Dick. He was the adopted 'chicken' of the regiment. There was a strange earnestness in their attachment to this bird. The very men who were never known to decline 'fowl' proceedings to obtain any other specimen, would watch this one with jealous care; and any attempt at harming him would have resulted in rough usage, in which they would have been first to 'take a hand.' The fact is, that, without other convenient object on which to bestow their tenderness of soul, they lavished it on Dick.

"Of his early history nothing is known, save that he was 'purchased' by Charles Steveson, Orderly of Col. Brown, near Natchitoches, on the 6th of April, 1864. He was then rather juvenile, and, being of the Shanghai 'persuasion,' was especially remarkable for his old look and pressing need of feathers. In short, he was a very

'Flora McFlimsey, with nothing to wear.'

"In about six months a short and scraggy coat of feathers covered his body without even then producing any especial beauty of appearance, but he was very large and dignified! He walked about with a firm, measured step that had in it something of the military, just as if he felt and knew that any other fowl that could stand on the ground and eat corn off of the top of a barrel, would not there live a minute. His appreciation of danger was as well marked as his good sense on other matters. The firing of a gun in the enemies' works, when seen by the men would cause them instantly to shout, for the benefit of their comrades, 'here she comes, here she comes.' Everybody then 'hunted their holes.' Dick understood this cry as well any of the boys, and gave us much amusement by instantly dropping his head and lighting out for cover, dodging into a tent, under a log, or into any place that would afford even the thinnest protection. His docility was very remarkable, as he could be called and petted like a dog, and often passed through the camp as if to receive the congratulations due to his imperial chickenship.

"A succinct statement of Dick's military experience would make him present at the battle of Sabine Cross-Roads, and also at the retreat of the army to Morganza. He was present at the expedition of Forts Gaines and Morgan; and with us from there to Morganza and White River. He was present at the siege of Spanish Fort, and a spectator at the capture of Fort Blakely. He was 'in at the death' at Mobile and the skirmish at Whistler; in short, was on every march and 'present for duty' at every action after his connection with the regiment, being with them mustered out of the service.

"He did not fail to receive at the hands of Col. Brown the attention deserved by his arduous experience, and was taken by him to his home near Mount Vernon, Ohio. 'The piping times of peace' illy suited the war-worn veteran, and in a few months the unendurable lassitude was kindly terminated by the untimely death of DICK."

~From “Services of the 96th​ Ohio Volunteers,” by J.T. Woods, MD, 1874
 

DBF

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 6, 2016
I'm surprised he survived and not face the same fate as Robert E Lee's chicken Nellie - she was an invited guest for dinner (so to speak ). I can see a dog 🐶 trotting along as armies marched from place to place; I can even see a cat 🐱 following behind the columns of men; but I can't picture a chicken 🐓marching along with the troops perhaps he hitched a ride on a wagon.
 
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LoyaltyOfDogs

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Location
Gettysburg area
I'm surprised he survived and not face the same fate as Robert E Lee's chicken Nellie - she was an invited guest for dinner (so to speak ). I can see a dog 🐶 trotting along as armies marched from place to place; I can even see a cat 🐱 following behind the columns of men; but I can't picture a chicken 🐓marching along with the troops perhaps he hitched a ride on a wagon.
I can't either, @DBF. It probably would have been hard for him to keep up and easy for someone--either man or beast--to snatch him as the soldiers marched along.
 

John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Location
Central Massachusetts
In the spring of 1863, we hear of "Biddy."
A PET CHICKEN IN CAMP
A letter from Gen. Hooker’s army.​
In one of the New York State regiments here, there is a private soldier who owns a pet pullet, which has escaped, with its owner, all the perils of battle thus far, and which is quite an acquisition to the chicken fancier, who has carried her along with him, wherever he has been, since last summer. She is now laying vigorously, furnishing her proprietor with a nice large egg almost every day -- four or five a week, certainly. 'Biddy' cackles, sings, struts, scratches and lays, all alone, and seems to have a very good time by herself. She is a fine specimen, and is quite a pet among the boys, who take good care of her.​
[Portland (Me.) Weekly Advertiser, May 2, 1863]​

Of course, that was before the campaign season began. I expect things changed by the time the army approached Chancellorsville.
 

farrargirl

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 9, 2017
Location
Baldwin County, on the Alabama Gulf Coast
View attachment 358567

In his 1874 history of the 96th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, J.T. Woods, the regiment's surgeon, paid tribute to the soldiers' special pet, Dick, a Shanghai rooster:

"Dick was only a chicken, and was the property of Col. Brown. The reason why he was the protected pet of the regiment we leave to be determined by Darwin.

"To the general reader it may seem a very trifling, even an unworthy matter, but to the members of the command this sketch would be unpardonably incomplete without a notice of Dick. He was the adopted 'chicken' of the regiment. There was a strange earnestness in their attachment to this bird. The very men who were never known to decline 'fowl' proceedings to obtain any other specimen, would watch this one with jealous care; and any attempt at harming him would have resulted in rough usage, in which they would have been first to 'take a hand.' The fact is, that, without other convenient object on which to bestow their tenderness of soul, they lavished it on Dick.

"Of his early history nothing is known, save that he was 'purchased' by Charles Steveson, Orderly of Col. Brown, near Natchitoches, on the 6th of April, 1864. He was then rather juvenile, and, being of the Shanghai 'persuasion,' was especially remarkable for his old look and pressing need of feathers. In short, he was a very

'Flora McFlimsey, with nothing to wear.'

"In about six months a short and scraggy coat of feathers covered his body without even then producing any especial beauty of appearance, but he was very large and dignified! He walked about with a firm, measured step that had in it something of the military, just as if he felt and knew that any other fowl that could stand on the ground and eat corn off of the top of a barrel, would not there live a minute. His appreciation of danger was as well marked as his good sense on other matters. The firing of a gun in the enemies' works, when seen by the men would cause them instantly to shout, for the benefit of their comrades, 'here she comes, here she comes.' Everybody then 'hunted their holes.' Dick understood this cry as well any of the boys, and gave us much amusement by instantly dropping his head and lighting out for cover, dodging into a tent, under a log, or into any place that would afford even the thinnest protection. His docility was very remarkable, as he could be called and petted like a dog, and often passed through the camp as if to receive the congratulations due to his imperial chickenship.

"A succinct statement of Dick's military experience would make him present at the battle of Sabine Cross-Roads, and also at the retreat of the army to Morganza. He was present at the expedition of Forts Gaines and Morgan; and with us from there to Morganza and White River. He was present at the siege of Spanish Fort, and a spectator at the capture of Fort Blakely. He was 'in at the death' at Mobile and the skirmish at Whistler; in short, was on every march and 'present for duty' at every action after his connection with the regiment, being with them mustered out of the service.

"He did not fail to receive at the hands of Col. Brown the attention deserved by his arduous experience, and was taken by him to his home near Mount Vernon, Ohio. 'The piping times of peace' illy suited the war-worn veteran, and in a few months the unendurable lassitude was kindly terminated by the untimely death of DICK."

~From “Services of the 96th​ Ohio Volunteers,” by J.T. Woods, MD, 1874
So glad I was pointed your way....wonderful posts here!
 

John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Location
Central Massachusetts
USS Lehigh, I think this one is somewhere in @LoyaltyOfDogs thread " Can You Spot The Dog " ?

View attachment 361397

Anyone know what would be the life span of a chicken anyway? I mean one not in proximity of an entire army.
A "producing" hen can live as much as 5-10 years. Should she stop laying, her lifespan might be considerably shorter. I really don't know about roosters, but suspect his natural span to be about the same. Guinness records the oldest chicken at 16 years.

An interesting article, though probably more than you ever wanted to know about "why old hens die," at The Hen Blog.
 
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