Some of the dogs who accompanied soldiers in the Civil War are well-remembered today, thanks, in part, to their portraits. Dog Jack of the 102nd Pennsylvania Volunteers, who was the subject of several CDVs, for instance, or General Rufus Ingalls’s handsome Dalmatian, who appears in a series of photographs, are among the best-known.
Still others are remembered—though their own names may be lost to history—because of their association with a famous figure. Just as some high-ranking officers did, more than a few enlisted men chose to include dogs in their own portraits.
But many other dogs were also photographed during the Civil War with groups of soldiers in camp—or with sailors aboard ship. They appear in casual scenes of everyday life and also in formal portraits of companies or officers’ staff members. Some dogs are prominently posed front-and-center. More than a few sleep through the picture-taking, sometimes not quite showing their best sides to the camera. Others are content to be held quietly or to sit or lie unobtrusively in the background with their soldiers. Sometimes they’re accompanied by servants, children, nurses, family members or other individuals visiting the camp. A close look at details in a high-resolution image often reveals a dog hiding in plain sight in a landscape view or a dog whose soldier made a point of including him in the scene.
If not for these brief glimpses, these dogs might have entirely passed from history. This new thread can serve as a spot where we remember them and the other loyal dogs who accompanied soldiers in Blue or Gray. Below are a few pictures of these unsung canine companions. And, at the end of this post, are links to a few of the threads where photos of dogs in camp have previously been posted.
Dogs like this one joining an infantry regiment for dress parade showed their best soldierly bearing. (Does anyone know what this dog is carrying? A link to the high-resolution image is here.)
Other dogs, like this eager pup in the foreground, who no doubt smelled the fresh loaves of bread, readily display their doggish enthusiasm instead of holding still for the camera. He’s just one of three dogs in this portrait of a quartermaster’s unit at Petersburg.
Maybe this blurry dog was suddenly distracted by some delicious aroma wafting out of the commissary. Or did he think he heard someone calling him for dinner?
Did this dog’s soldiers choose not to wake him for their picture?
A terrier has a commanding view of the landscape from his perch atop a caisson.
An artilleryman holds tight to his lanky flop-eared pup.
Here, a dog takes a seat in the wagon beside one of the regiment’s aides.
A soldier of Co. K, 3rd Massachusetts Artillery, cradles two small terriers in his arms.
What other dogs have you spotted in camp scenes? Please share them here!
The following are a few of the threads where we CivilWarTalk members have shared our delight in seeing these all-but-forgotten companions to the soldiers.
- Dogs in the War: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/dogs-in-the-war.91214/
- Can anyone see a dog in this photo? https://civilwartalk.com/threads/can-anyone-see-a-dog-in-this-photo.80680/
- A wonderful collection of Civil War dog photos:
- Dogs of War, Or, Home Is Where The Bowl Is:
- Newspaper Writer Goes Wooofy About Dogs At War:
This list is by no means complete, so please update this thread with other links as you find them. Thanks!