Unforgettable Dogs of War

LoyaltyOfDogs

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Location
Gettysburg area
Dog on a raft.png

Not one of Lt. Peet's spaniels...

For every Sallie Ann Jarrett, Harvey, and Dog Jack—who have become canine folk heroes of the Civil War thanks to their prominent stories in soldiers’ reminiscences—there are countless other dogs who are all but lost to history. From time to time we find them in soldiers’ diaries, letters, or memoirs shared long after the war. Sometimes these are references to brief encounters by soldiers who did not know the dogs’ names or their masters, or perhaps have forgotten those details over the years. But the dogs themselves were not forgotten.

Here are just a few. I hope to add more of these dogs as I continue to meet them. And I hope all CivilWarTalk members will feel welcome to do the same!

An officer of the 52nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry recalled that soldiers had many different pets throughout the war, “But chief among camp pets were dogs. On the saddles, in the baggage wagons, growling under a cannon, yellow at that, and pug nosed, with old names, such as "Tray" and "Towser," "Blanche" and "Caesar." A dog, like a horse, came to like the rattle and crash of musketry and cannon. There was one in an Illinois regiment that would chase a half spent shot at Kenesaw, like a kitten would play with a ball. He had been twice wounded, and left the tip of his tail at Stone River…”

~ From “Dan. McCook's regiment, 52nd O. V. I.,” By Rev. Nixon B. Stewart, published 1900


Old Man Johnson’s dog was a patriot, as two soldiers of the 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery learned after making their escape from a Confederate prison. While on the run, Patrick H. O’Donnell and William V. Banty came to the farm of the elderly Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and their five children. One son was away serving in the Union Army; another son fought for the South. The farm had lost much of its livestock and crops to Confederate troops in the area, and at times food was scarce. Mr. Johnson had taken to hiding out in a nearby cave for fear of being conscripted. “The old man had a dog so that if he was called a Rebel he would growl and bark, and if not called a good Union dog afterward would bite his tormentor,” the soldiers recalled.

~From “History of the First regiment of heavy artillery, Massachusetts volunteers, formerly the Fourteenth regiment of infantry, 1861-1865,” by Alfred S. (Seelye) Roe, 1917


In an April 1863 letter, Frederick Tomlinson Peet, a 2nd​ lieutenant in the US Marine Corps, wrote to his father about his young spaniels, who were affectionate companions on dry land, but unlikely to have a future career as sea dogs: “I am having a very pleasant time. My dogs are well and growing….At present I am the owner of three spaniels—valued (by me,) at $25 each. When they are full grown and trained they will be worth $50 each. I go to sleep sometimes with all three of them on me. Lt Wallace stretched himself out on three chairs one day and dropped to sleep, when he awoke he found two dogs on his chest and one under his chair. I took them on the Potomac Friday and two of them became sea sick.”

~From “Civil war letters and documents of Frederick Tomlinson Peet,” 1917

More to come, I hope!
 

Llewellyn

Corporal
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Location
Britain
There's a nice memorial in London to all animals who suffered and died as a result of 20th Century wars.
Horses and dogs, of course, but the mules, elephants, camels and even pigeons are commemorated.
Funding included a generous donation from the estate of the late Paul Mellon, an American, and the inscription states that the memorial is dedicated to animals of all Allied forces.
So it's just as much yours as it is ours.

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We all see different things in memorials, I suppose, but I see two artillery mules, heavily burdened, struggling through the small gap in the barrier of death, and on the other side a horse and a dog, unencumbered and running free.
 

GwilymT

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Location
Pittsburgh
There's a nice memorial in London to all animals who suffered and died as a result of 20th Century wars.
Horses and dogs, of course, but the mules, elephants, camels and even pigeons are commemorated.
Funding included a generous donation from the estate of the late Paul Mellon, an American, and the inscription states that the memorial is dedicated to animals of all Allied forces.
So it's just as much yours as it is ours.

View attachment 394530

View attachment 394531

We all see different things in memorials, I suppose, but I see two artillery mules, heavily burdened, struggling through the small gap in the barrier of death, and on the other side a horse and a dog, unencumbered and running free.
Excellent share. Thank you.
 

KianGaf

First Sergeant
Joined
May 29, 2019
Location
Dublin, Ireland
I wasn't aware of that memorial in London, its looks really well designed. I do like to read on famous animals of war. The horses do get highlighted such as Traveller , Bucephalus , Copenhagen , Marengo etc all have a part in their owners stories. I love dogs and its great to read about the part they played in wartime.
 

EJ Zander

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Location
Gettysburg, PA
There's a nice memorial in London to all animals who suffered and died as a result of 20th Century wars.
Horses and dogs, of course, but the mules, elephants, camels and even pigeons are commemorated.
Funding included a generous donation from the estate of the late Paul Mellon, an American, and the inscription states that the memorial is dedicated to animals of all Allied forces.
So it's just as much yours as it is ours.

View attachment 394530

View attachment 394531

We all see different things in memorials, I suppose, but I see two artillery mules, heavily burdened, struggling through the small gap in the barrier of death, and on the other side a horse and a dog, unencumbered and running free.
Thanks for sharing! Beautiful memorial! The draft, now looking fit and free off harness after leaving the arena of war, very well done.
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
Location
Mid Hudson Valley, New York
"Dogs are often the most human people we know."

--Unknown
Completely agree. Our dogs understand us better than we may give them credit for. I also love horses and they are magnificent animals, very smart just as dogs are. The post battle photos of the dead horses on the Gettysburg battlefield are saddening.

Bill
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Completely agree. Our dogs understand us better than we may give them credit for. I also love horses and they are magnificent animals, very smart just as dogs are. The post battle photos of the dead horses on the Gettysburg battlefield are saddening.

Bill

Indeed, it seems like every animal we get to love and trust us often bares the brunt of our cruelty to one another.
 
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