The Mighty Newfoundland Dog

Claude Bauer

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jan 8, 2012
That's a wonderful picture, @Claude Bauer. What regiment is it, and do you know the name of the bugler your colleague was portraying? I'd love to read about the original bugler's Newfie if any historical information remains.

Sorry, but I don't have any more details at this time--I fell in with those folks just for that event since I came from MD and needed a unit to march with. This was a while ago, but I'll look to see if I still have any contact info. for them and try to find out.
 

Claude Bauer

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jan 8, 2012
Thanks so much!

I managed to track down the musician and it appears I misunderstood what I heard 6 years ago—apparently, his dog served as the reenacting unit’s mascot and was allowed at the event based on the fact that Newfoundlands were mascots with some Union units—accounts probably similar to what’s been showing up on this thread. If I could edit the OP, I’d change it to read:

“When I participated in the Shiloh 150th reenactment, the unit I fell in with got permission from the organizers to bring the bugler’s Newfoundland to the event--normally pets are forbidden, but they were able to show that some Union units had such dogs as mascots with them back in the day. Here's a picture of the reenacting group I was with for the event, with the dog in the center between the seated lady and the musician.”

Somehow I got the impression that it was the bugler's dog in the original unit too, not just the bugler's dog in the reenacting unit. Sorry about that. BTW, the dog in the picture is no longer with us, but the reenacting unit has a new Newfie mascot.
 
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LoyaltyOfDogs

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Location
Gettysburg area
I managed to track down the musician and it appears I misunderstood what he told me 6 years ago—apparently, his dog served as the reenacting unit’s mascot and was allowed at the event based on the fact that Newfoundlands were mascots with some Union units—accounts probably similar to what’s been showing up on this thread. If I could edit the OP, I’d change it to read:

“When I participated in the Shiloh 150th reenactment, the unit I fell in with got permission from the organizers to bring the bugler’s Newfoundland to the event--normally pets are forbidden, but they were able to show that some Union units had such dogs as mascots with them back in the day. Here's a picture of the reenacting group I was with for the event, with the dog in the center between the seated lady and the musician.”

BTW, the dog in the picture is no longer with us, but the reenacting unit has a new Newfie mascot.

Many thanks for looking this up, @Claude Bauer. It's great that the organizers honored the reenactor's request. And that the unit has another Newfie following in the footsteps of their former mascot. I once met a couple of reenactors whose dog reenacted with them, and it sounded like she really enjoyed the activity and companionship.
 

Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
I would imagine you’d need a bit of space for one. Not a huge dog fan, even though I grew up with a toy poodle. However, I do understand their appeal, and I do like petting the ones that are pet-able. They do like me, which I find amusing. Hidden cat-like sense I am sure!
 

LoyaltyOfDogs

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Location
Gettysburg area
Newfoundland dogs as hunters? Has anyone seen any soldier accounts or Civil War-era mentions of Newfoundlands being used for hunting? I have not, so I was surprised to run across this article about the Lewis & Clark expedition that includes several instances of Captain Meriwether Lewis’s Newfoundland, Seaman, hunting. As a water dog, he preferred rivers and streams as his “hunting grounds.”

One of these episodes prompted Lewis’s first mention of the dog in his journal:

"I made my dog take as many [squirrels] each day as I had occasion for. They were fat and I thought them when fried a pleasant food. Many of these squirrels were black. They swim very light on the water and make pretty good speed. My dog was of the Newfoundland breed, very active, strong and docile. He would take the squirrels in the water, kill them, and swimming bring them in his mouth to the boat."

The article also references three instances of Seaman hunting other prey:

A member of the expedition crew noted, "Saw a flock of goats [pronghorn antelopes] swimming the river this morning near to our camp. Capt. Lewis's dog Seaman took after them, caught one in the river, drowned & killed it and swam to shore with it."

When a hunter wounded a deer and it ran into a river, Lewis wrote, “My dog pursued, caught it, drowned it and brought it to shore at our camp." He also recorded Seaman catching geese.

I’d never given any thought to the idea that a Newfoundland’s attraction to swimming figures might be put to use for hunting. It seems like something that would have been useful to Civil War soldiers. Anyone ever hear of this?
 

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
-A Newfoundland dog was a mascot of the 2nd New Hampshire regiment in 1861. (Martin A. Haynes, A Minor War History)

-In December 1862, one of "Lige Jenkin’s mules kicked Billy Harris’ big Newfoundland dog over a stone fence, twenty feet or more, landing him on his back, in the middle of the supper table of the quartermaster’s mess, as the old [black] cook sat quietly munching his evening meal." (Edmund R. Brown, Twenty-Seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry)
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
My brother ALMOST acquired a newfie. As my mother told it, "We were going up the driveway to the kennel when a bear came ambling toward us..." Later, when I was with my parents with my own dog. The neighbor's Newfoundland used to come over every morning and barked for my dog to join him; once Gruoch (my dog) was out, they'd trundled away! This newfie was one of the gentlest, sweetest--and smartest--dogs I have known.
 

LoyaltyOfDogs

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Location
Gettysburg area
This newfie was one of the gentlest, sweetest--and smartest--dogs I have known.
I grew up with a miniature dachshund as our family pet. Once, our dog was attacked by a neighbor's German shepherd, and we considered it a miracle that our veterinarian was able to save him. Another neighbor, years later, occasionally had a visitor who would bring along his Newfoundland, Teddy. I hadn't met Teddy but I was amazed at his size. The biggest dog I'd ever seen. I was fearful that if he ever came into our yard he'd kill our dog. Arriving home from school one day, I heard our dog barking furiously in the back yard. When I got there, I was horrified, at first, to see that Teddy was in the yard. But there he was, lying placidly on the lawn while our dachshund dashed around him in circles, trying to chase him away. After a few minutes, Teddy apparently got bored, stood up and ambled back to our neighbor's house. I've had an affectionate fascination for Newfoundlands ever since.
 
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John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Location
Central Massachusetts
Evening_Star_1863-09-05_2.png

[Evening Star (DC), 2 September 1863]​

Richard, First Viscount Lyons was the British Ambassdor in Washington, and Col. Lafayette C. Baker was then Provost Marshal of that city. Captain Talbot's little steamerYoung America ferried passengers between Washington and Alexandria.

Baker should have asked the "dorg!" Would have saved himself a lot of bother.

(I can find no explanation for the spelling of "dorg".)
 
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Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
"Dorg" seems to be a regional colloquialism. In an early version of his memoir about canine mascot Sallie Ann Jarrett, the 11th Pennsylvania's commanding officer, Colonel Richard Coulter, uses the term a couple of times, in quotation marks.
“Some“ people put r’s where they don’t belong..I’m lookin at ya’ll who say “warsh” :smile:
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
I grew up with a miniature dachshund as our family pet. Once, our dog was attacked by a neighbor's German shepherd, and we considered it a miracle that our veterinarian was able to save him. Another neighbor, years later, occasionally had a visitor who would bring along his Newfoundland, Teddy. I hadn't met Teddy but I was amazed at his size. The biggest dog I'd ever seen. I was fearful that if he ever came into our yard he'd kill our dog. Arriving home from school one day, I heard our dog barking furiously in the back yard. When I got there, I was horrified, at first, to see that Teddy was in the yard. But there he was, lying placidly on the lawn while our dachshund dashed around him in circles, trying to chase him away. After a few minutes, Teddy apparently got bored, stood up and ambled back to our neighbor's house. I've had an affectionate fascination for Newfoundlanders ever since.
That was a pretty feisty and courageous dachshund who--dispite a previous bad experience--stood up to a dog of that size. The dachshund didn't know how gentle newfies are--he just weighed it!
 

LoyaltyOfDogs

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Location
Gettysburg area
A couple of popular CDVs picturing Ulysses Grant with his daughter Nellie and a dog make me wonder whether Jesse Grant's Newfoundland, Faithful, might have been a celebrity in his own right during Grant's presidency, much as some presidential pets have been in more recent years. Though Grant preferred horses to dogs, this anecdote that @donna previously shared reveals his fatherly concern for the well-being of his son's dog. These two CDVs seem to show two very different dogs. The one on the left looks more like a spaniel or setter, and the one on the right looks like a more stout and sturdy Newfoundland. But black and white is also a coloring that appears in Newfies, and some 19th Century illustrations of their breed show the dogs as more slender and with a smoother coat. Maybe both of the Grant illustrations are meant to depict the same dog, shown differently thanks to artistic license.

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An 1830s lithograph of a Newfoundland dog from the Library of Congress.
 
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