A patriotic Kentuckian, brave in battle, devoid of vanity, never a gambler, and an accomplished forager, Jack of Company B, the Thirty-Fifth Ohio regiment, “damaged the confederacy as much as lay in his power by doing his best to eat the rebels out of house and home, which was an approved way to put down the rebellion.”
Jack’s contributions to the war effort earned him three pages in the regimental history. Here is his story, as told by the 35th Ohio’s historian, F.W. Keil:
“The men of the Thirty-fifth, for some unexplained reason, took fancy to a dog, and, in a quiet way, made him regimental property, in which nearly every member considered himself a part owner.
“This animal came to us while in camp at Paris, Kentucky. Company B has the honor to recruit the brute. The dog was a native of the “dark and bloody ground,” and the only genuine Kentuckian in the regiment, which fact made him more valuable.
“He was not a pretty dog by any means, nor was he in any sense unusually smart, but he had good sense, for he stood by the old flag. In this he exhibited better judgment than was shown by Buckner, Breckinridge, Gov. McGoffin and other prominent Kentuckians, who went into the rebellion.
“Like Gerrit Smith, he started out boldly for the union, and unlike that individual, he stood firmly by the flag, not only until the last rebel was whipped, but until the confederacy was reconstructed and back in the union of states.
“It isn’t claimed that Jack had a fine voice, or that his nightly barks at the moon were more pleasant and endurable than those of dogs generally, but then they were all for the union—no secesh growl ever escaped from his throat.
“Then it can be said, with truth, the he had no respect for confederate hen-roosts or smoke houses. He was fond of nice chickens taken from the southern plantations, and was not averse to a good “hunk” of sesech ham, when fresh meat was scarce.
“His conscience never smote him, or prevented him from taking what he wanted in his foraging excursions, while traveling in the confederacy. He was never known, however, to pry inquiringly into the private affairs of any one belonging to the regiment, in order to find what the contents were of a comrade’s haversack—save possibly, when pressed by sore necessity, while the army was starving at Chattanooga, when Bragg held Missionary Ridge and Lookout mountain.
“It is not the part of well regulated dog nature to starve when something can be found to eat—even if it has to come out of a comrade’s haversack. But, in this he did no more than others who were not dogs!
“Jack knew every man and beast belonging to the regiment, and had a friendly recognition for them whenever and wherever found. He was no loafer, but was always found at his place, and slept within the camp, ready for duty at any moment—like a good soldier.
“It can be truthfully said that he never “shirked” duty, or played ”old soldier,” and reported at surgeon’s call for his quinine, so as to be excused from moving with the regiment on a scouting or foraging expedition. Soldiering agreed with him very well for he was not sick a day during his term of service, and always reported for his rations!
“Jack was never found among the “chuck-luck gang,” which assembled in concealed places to relieve each other of spare change. He was uniformly orderly, well behaved and would not indulge in anything of that kind. The guard house record of the regiment never had his name on its pages. His visits to that place were to comfort and to cheer the unlucky fellow who had to pass long hours within that cheerless concern.
“It is not known whether Jack had his picture taken by the army photographer. If he had his vanity was not of the kind that permitted him to peddle the same on sale through camp. The only photograph of him extant* was taken when lying in state prior to the funeral obsequies, which awaited his dog-ship.
“That photograph will assist the ‘future historian’ in giving a satisfactory account of Jack, the soldier dog of the Thirty-fifth, and the part he played in putting down the rebellion.
“It may be said right here, that there were two ways to put down the rebellion. The one was to fight and whip the rebel armies in the field; the other was to destroy or eat up the supplies on which armies subsist. In the latter method Jack made a full hand!
“It is not doing violence to truth to say that this dog did more valuable service for the country than a score of the stay-at-home patriots, or that other class who retired to Canada so as to have a quiet time watching the contest “over the border.” This dog shared the hardships of marches and battles. He did all he could to encourage the boys. He was friendly and had a smiling look for every one.
“He took part in the amusements of the camp, and helped to catch rabbits and the stray chickens that would not stay on the roosts until caught. He damaged the confederacy as much as lay in his power by doing his best to eat the rebels out of house and home, which was an approved way to put down the rebellion. Of what stay at home patriot can half be said that may be said to the credit of this dog Jack.
“He carried an ugly scar across the skull, which, some say, he received on the field of battle. For the correctness of this it is not vouched here, but it may be actually so, as he was no coward, and never drifted to the rear when bullets whizzed.
“Jack was present at Mill Spring and Shiloh, at Perryville and Chickamauga, at Missionary Ridge and the battles on the way to Atlanta, and in all the numerous skirmishes the regiment participated during its three years of service, he came home with the men, receiving transportation like any other soldier.
“At a reunion held at Hamilton soon after the war a silver collar was voted for Jack, but the committee having the matter in charge were slow in doing their duty in the matter, and he died before it was ready for presentation. On his return north with the men Jack took up his abode with his friend, Sergeant West, company B, who cared for him, and when he died had him buried with appropriate ceremonies.”
~From “Thirty-fifth Ohio. A narrative of service from August, 1861 to 1864. With an introductory by General H. V. Boynton. The original Persimmon regiment,” published 1894.