Loyal Frank of the 2nd Kentucky Regiment

In the opinion of Orphan Brigade veteran and historian Ed Porter Thompson, reflecting on the life of Frank, the dog of the 2nd Kentucky Infantry, the love of a dog for his master was second only to that of a mother for her child. A battle-scarred onetime prisoner of war, Frank, after living a soldier’s life, shared many a soldier’s fate. The following account is from Thompson’s book “History of the Orphan Brigade,” published in 1898.

Frank the Soldier Dog

“Among the singular circumstances attending the life of soldiers, few are more deserving of special mention than the facts in connection with this representative of the canine species in the army of the Confederacy. The peculiar ties existing between men and dogs the strong and constant attachment of the animal for his master have long been the subject of song and story. The noble Newfoundlander, in the snows of the Alps, seekibrief quote about Frankng the benighted and storm-caught traveler, presents to our minds the image of a benevolent intelligence; and the poet has made ‘Old Dog Tray’ the embodiment of unselfish love, and fidelity, for which man seeks in vain among his fellows, and not always finds, even in woman, after he leaves the sacred precincts of his childhood home, and the domain that is lighted by the eye of his mother.

“Frank was a sort of counterpart to Postlethwait, Capt. Richard A. Collins’s pet black bear, that shared the fortunes of his battery in Gen. Joe Shelby’s splendid command of Missouri Confederates; and to the Militia Pig that campaigned with the Kentucky volunteers during the War of 1812.

“He was brought into the Second Regiment by one of the members of Co. B, and long experienced with the men the privations of inclement season, scanty fare and hard marching, and the perils of the field. He went into the engagement at Donelson, was captured with the troops, and spent his six months in prison at Camp Morton: and

“When the regiment was marched out from the prison inclosure, on the 26th of August, 1862, Frank was observed to wag his tail joyfully, and he departed somewhat from his ordinarily dignified demeanor, and was gleeful at the prospect of going forth again to ‘the stern joys of the battle.’

“In more than one subsequent engagement he was wounded, but that did not deter him in the least from marching out promptly when the ‘long roll’ was sounded next time, and taking his chances. If a soldier fell, Frank looked at him with the eye of a philosopher; and the close observer might have discovered something of pity in his glance, and a half-consciousness that the poor man was dead, or in agony, and that he could not help him. On these, as indeed on almost all occasions, he seemed to partake largely of the spirit of the men. If the conflict was obstinate, Frank was silent and dogged. If the men shouted in the onset, or cheered when the ground was won, he barked in unison.

“He took part in the memorable ‘snow-ball battle’ at Dalton, March 22, 1864, and was wounded in the foot, having come in contact, during the melee, with one of his own species who was serving with an adverse party.

“On the march he frequently carried his own rations in a small haversack hung on his neck.

“He almost invariably went out, when not ‘excused by the surgeon,’ to company, regimental, and brigade drills, sometimes looking on like a reviewing officer, but oftener taking part in the maneuvers; but he had a sovereign contempt for ‘dress parade,’ and generally stayed at his quarters when he found that the men were to go no further than the color-line.

“He was rather choice, too, in his associates; and, though widely known and friendly to all, he would not allow of much familiarity outside of his own mess. When rations were short, he would visit other messes, and even other companies, and accept the little that his friends could spare; but he did not want them to presume upon his sense of obligation, and indulge in anything like caresses.

“In this way he lived the soldier s life. If Co. B had a shelter, Frank had his corner in it. When he was shot, his wounds were dressed, and he had no lack of attention. If the commissariat were well supplied, he fed bountifully, and put on his best looks. If life were eked out on ‘hard-tack’ and a slice of bacon, or of poor beef, Frank had but his share of that, and grew lean and hollow-eyed, like his soldier-friends.

“But, in the summer campaign of 1864, he disappeared; and we have to write of Frank, the soldier-dog, as we have done of many a noble soldier boy, ‘fate unknown.’ Perhaps some admirer of his species laid felonious hands upon him, and carried him captive away; or, perhaps, a ball from some ‘vile gun’ laid him low while he was taking a lonely stroll in the woods.”

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I was a dog at Gettysburg

(Title) Sky banner - Crowd along Baltimore Street, Gettysburg

Many of Abraham Lincoln’s writings, others’ memories of him, and accounts of the stories he told display his humility and identification with the common man. His common humanity with people of all stations in life contributed to a view of the 16th president so widely held that it continues to be reflected in much of the art and writing that is produced about Lincoln even today.

 

 One unique expression appears in the poem “Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg” by MacKinlay Kantor, whose Pulitzer-Prize-winning book “Andersonville” is probably his best-known work. Kantor’s poem, published in 1933, memorializes Lincoln’s November 1863 visit to the ceremonies dedicating the new Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, where he gave “a few appropriate remarks” that live on in history as the Gettysburg Address. Kantor’s poem ends with a few lines that portray Lincoln’s humanity as perceived by a dog:

 

“I was a dog of Gettysburg.
I trotted near the train
And nosed among the officers, who kicked me to my pain.
A man came by. . . . I could not see. I howled.
The light was dim,
But when I brushed against his legs, I liked the smell of him.”

 

Was Kantor perhaps familiar with this photograph of the crowd watching the parade to the cemetery dedication on Nov. 19, 1863? In the scene, a small dog stands

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in the center, behind the crowd. Did he accompany his owner to Gettysburg for the solemn occasion? Or was he a local dog attracted by the activity? We’ll never know, just as he could never know that he was witness to an historic occasion. I would like to think that MacKinlay Kantor, gazing deeply into this picture, discovered the little dog standing there and was inspired by his presence with the people on Baltimore Street that day.

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Civil War Dogs Are Everywhere

Many Civil War dogs appear in photographic portraits with their soldiers or sailors, often in formal poses with individual soldiers and sometimes in regimental or company formation. But look closely at some well-known Civil War scenes and you will see dogs almost hidden in casual poses like this one. This little dog–whose name is now likely lost to history–was photographed with his officer aboard the Union gunboat USS Miami. Front and center in the scene are two handsome spaniels who appear to know that it’s a formal occasion.

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Two Lesser-known Dogs at Gettysburg

Sallie Ann Jarrett, the mascot of the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and the dog of the 1st (now 2nd) Maryland Battalion, known as “Grace,” who was a casualty of the fighting in Pardee Field, are the best-known dogs to have accompanied soldiers at Gettysburg. But other dogs, including some whose names are lost to history, also appear in soldiers’ accounts of the battle. Here are two of them. Continue reading

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A Chaplain Reflects on the Character of His Regiment’s Dogs

Daily they do honor to every faculty their Maker has given them, while it may be both you and those who proudly boast themselves as the owners of the dog, are daily and recklessly dishonoring, by misimprovement, each power of body and faculty of soul bestowed for high aims and holy purposes.”

rev-alexander-m-stewart

Rev. Alexander M. Stewart, Chaplain, 102nd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Dog Jack, the celebrated mascot of the 102nd Pennsylvania Volunteers, is one of the best known dogs of the Civil War. But he was not the regiment’s only mascot. In a memoir, the regiment’s chaplain, Rev. Alexander M. Stewart, tells not only Jack’s story in detail, but he also introduces two other memorable dogs, York and Beauty. Rev. Stewart’s musings on theology and military life underscore the high esteem that soldiers held for their canine companions.

If anyone might wonder why soldiers erected bronze monuments to their dogs, buried them with military honors or toasted their memory at reunions, let them read Rev. Stewart’s account:

“Two Famous Characters.—As chroniclers of great battles are wont to say, ‘It would be impossible to mention by name all who have distinguished themselves,’ so neither, as you will bear me witness, has there been any attempt, in my numerous letters from camp, to mention individuals by name who have done honor to the service. In so doing a large list must be made, as almost every name would press for insertion. There are, however, two characters attached to our regiment, whose long, brave, constant, uninterrupted manly bearing, it might seem invidious longer to pass over in silence. Volunteering into the regiment at its first organization, now nineteen long months,—during all that time, they have shown no tendency to desert, nor even asked for a furlough or leave of absence. They have never been off duty; never missed a roll call; never offered a complaint; never have seemed to doubt of ultimate success; always cheery and ready to lend a helping hand at any difficult service. Far different, also, from many in their respective companies, they have never yet so far disgraced themselves, as to violate the law of God, wholesome army regulations, together with all rules of decency and gentlemanly bearing, by uttering a vulgarity, swearing a profane oath, playing cards or getting drunk. Their characters, it may be truly said, are now known and read of all. But who, who are they? Let us hear the names of such true gentlemen and model characters, such brave soldiers and unbending patriots: —Two Dogs.

“Smile, reader, if you will; but don’t snarl or turn up the nose. These two characters are far more worthy to have an honorable chronicle, than many a biped with whom they associate….. Yet are they none of your ordinary whelps or curs, though to the manor born, and without name or fame. By native strength of character, and living in revolutionary times, they have raised themselves above the common swarm of mongrels. As the biography of many a Brigadier should, in charitable silence, be brief, so of our two heroes nothing shall be written until fairly ushered upon the stage of active military life.”

Here, Rev. Stewart tells the well-known story of Jack’s early career as firedog of the Niagara Fire Company of Pittsburg (sic), Pennsylvania, then he follows with passages on the 102nd’s other mascots.

“The other dog is a curious looking specimen of the canine. One must be more skilled in doggery than the writer, to define his species. Spaniel, cur, terrier, and waterdog all seem blended in one. He is, however, ‘A rhyming, ranting, roving billie.’ His partial friends do, indeed, boast him of high degree; yet sure all who meet him must admit,

‘That though he be of high degree,
The feint a pride, no pride has he.’

“Volunteering in the regiment while encamped in the city of York, Pa., in May, 1861, he is, in accordance, surnamed York. He is enrolled in company B, which occupies the extreme left or rear of the regiment. Should Jack at any time approach the rear, every hair on York’s body is at once on end. Should York approach the right, Jack sends him back according to true military style and authority. York’s reasoning faculties seem to operate slowly. He is accustomed to bound away, and bring back in his mouth whatever missile any one of the boys may throw from them, whether falling upon land or water. With live game he has but little acquaintance. The other day a rabbit was started, and was seen by York at a certain point. Thither he bounded with wonderful agility; then he stopped and snuffed and snorted to find the rabbit as he would a block or stone—seeming wholly oblivious, that although the rabbit was actually in that spot when he started in pursuit, it might not perchance be in the same spot when he arrived. Marvellous stories are told by the boys concerning the experience and knowledge in military affairs acquired by these dogs; all of which, if written, would fill a volume, and put to shame many a Brigadier.

“Another dog we had whose name is still cherished, and whose memory should not be allowed to perish without a word. On account of many graces, both mental and bodily, it received the appellation of ‘Beauty.’” Along into the battle of Malvern, went Beauty, but came not out. Some would have it, that Beauty was taken prisoner, but as the name never appeared among the list of captured, this seems impossible. The majority have it, that Beauty was torn to pieces by a bursting shell. Poor Beauty bleaches not alone, unburied, from our regiment, upon those bloodstained hills of Malvern. Should these two veterans not meet the fate of Beauty, and be allowed to return with the living to Pittsburg, a bright brass collar, with appended silver medal, will, no doubt, be voted to each, and be worn by their dogships the remainder of life.

“Reader, these two dogs give evidence of thinking as quickly, and reasoning as accurately as yourself. What is it, then, which separates you from them so widely, marking a distinction lasting as eternity? They have no conscience, no moral sense, no remorse for the past, no hope or dread of the future. All these you possess, and in their daily exercise they argue you accountable—a being, the consequences of whose actions are not to cease, as will those of Jack and York. Yet, perchance, these dogs are acting in a manner much more rational than yourself. Daily they do honor to every faculty their Maker has given them, while it may be both you and those who proudly boast themselves as the owners of the dog, are daily and recklessly dishonoring, by misimprovement, each power of body and faculty of soul bestowed for high aims and holy purposes.

“Two years have now elapsed since the above chronicle was made of our two camp friends. These two eventful years have made rapid and fearful changes among the human members of our regiment, as well as of the whole army. Nor have our canine companions been exceptions to war’s rapid mutations. Eighteen months since, poor York sank under a complication of injuries, diseases and exposures—died in camp, was buried with appropriate military honors by the members of his company, while a board at the spot duly chronicles the event. Jack still survives, through multiplied dangers and vicissitudes, maintaining his honorable position in the field and active service….”

From “Camp, March and Battle-field; Or Three Years and a Half with the Amy of the Potomac,” 1865

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Gettysburg was all he needed to know of Army life

Maybe this Maryland dog’s family never wondered about his absence and, we presume, his return home. In any case, it’s very likely they never guessed that he “fought” at Gettysburg. His brief story is told by Michael Schroyer of the 147th Pennsylvania, who recounted the Union Army’s march into Pennsylvania in late June 1863:

After passing through Frederick, “[a]long the roadside we came across a goodly number of cherry trees which were loaded with the precious fruit and we ate many quarts in a very short time. While resting, some three or four ladies came along in a carriage, singing ‘Maryland, My Maryland.’ The boys cheered them all along the line as it certainly was inspiring to hear this song as we were nearing old Pennsylvania. A large, long-haired, yellow dog came to our company from one of the Maryland homes, became a pet and stayed with us on the march . . . .The long haired yellow dog that followed the company from Maryland was with us all thru the Gettysburg battle and when a shell dropped near us and exploded, the dog, who had found a cool place under the rocks, would come forth and bark at the bursting shells. The dog stayed with us until our return march thru Maryland when he left us and we never saw anything of him again.”

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Three Dogs Saved From Drowning

Bravo! to the Italian yacht crew members who saved a young Labrador retriever last month after the dog went overboard off another boat in the Bay of Naples. On social media this week, many people have viewed the videos of the dog, Noodle, and his rescue. If you missed that story, you can see it here, courtesy of CNN and the Savoia Yacht Club: https://goo.gl/egNe5z. Noodle’s dramatic rescue reminded us that two of the most famous figures of the American Civil War also saved dogs from drowning: Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee.

Noodle the Labrador retriever swims for his life in the Bay of Naples after falling overboard.

Noodle the Labrador retriever swims for his life in the Bay of Naples after falling overboard.

Years before the Civil War, Lee, the future Confederate general, was on a boat near Staten Island, New York, when he spotted, bobbing in the water, a dog who had apparently fallen overboard from a passing boat and drifted out of sight. Lee rescued her and took her home to his children. She became Dart, a beloved family member. Later, one of her pups, named Spec, was also a much-loved companion who was known for accompanying the family to church.

Abraham Lincoln’s lifelong love of dogs is also well known. In 1830 he saved one of his family’s dogs from drowning in an icy stream. Lincoln, then 21, was accompanying his father, stepmother and siblings as the family moved from Indiana to Illinois. Streams were overflowing their banks with the thawing and refreezing of early spring, and as the party crossed a flooded spot, a small dog jumped from the wagon and broke through the ice. Lincoln biographer David Herbert Donald quotes Lincoln’s own retelling of the episode, “‘I could not bear to lose my dog,’ Lincoln recalled many years later, ‘and I jumped out of the wagon and waded waist deep in the ice and water[.] got hold of him and helped out and saved him.’”

Noodle, Dart and Lincoln’s little friend whose name is lost to history are three dogs fortunate that kind-hearted people were nearby to help them in their distress.

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A Shocking Encounter

Robert D. Funkhouser, Jr., who served with the 49th Virginia Infantry, shared some of his memories of the war with readers of the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1906. Among his reminiscences was a brief account of a shocking encounter with a Newfoundland dog. This peculiar little story is possibly the only remembrance of this dog that has remained in all the years since the war. It’s one of those sobering reminders of the high price some dogs paid — then, as now — for their loyalty to their soldiers.

“The night after the battle at Williamsburg, the 6th of May, 1862, our regiment was standing in line of battle in front of the winter quarters of some of General Magruder’s troops, and it was pouring down rain. We were wet as water could make us, even with good overcoats on, and it was very dark, so Lieutenant J. B. Updyke and myself groped into one of the huts and found something soft to lay our heads on, and soon we were both fast asleep. A cannon-ball crashed through our shanty, and the rattle of shingles and shower of daubing and debris woke us up, and when we started to decamp in a great hurry, Lieutenant Updyke said, wofully: “I’ve lost my hat. Have you got a match?” When I struck one, lo and behold! there was a large Newfoundland dog, which had served as our pillow, lying there dead; but we did not hold a post-mortem to ascertain the cause of his death, because another cannon-ball came shrieking close over our heads.”​

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A Civil War Dog’s Tale Told Across Two Generations

Visitors to the Gettysburg Battlefield are often surprised to see the life-size statue of a dog lying at the base of the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry monument on Doubleday Avenue. The statue, at the front of the monument, faces across the fields where the fighting took place on July 1, 1863, and away from the road, where visitors can easily pass by unaware of the dog’s presence.

Plaques on the monument recall the deeds of the men of the regiment in battles from 1861 to 1865, enumerating their losses, including 132 casualties at Gettysburg. But the dog is not mentioned. Who was she, and why was she given this costly tribute?

Two Civil War Dog BooksIf John D. Lippy, Jr., wondered as he grew up at Gettysburg, it was not for long. As a boy early in the 20th century, he heard the story of the dog, Sallie Ann Jarrett, first-hand from Civil War veterans returning to Gettysburg for reunions. He heard how Sallie accompanied the soldiers of the 11th from their earliest days, as new recruits at Camp Wayne in West Chester, Pennsylvania, through nearly the entire war, until a fateful fight at Hatcher’s Run in Virginia in February 1865. At Gettysburg she had earned the soldiers’ undying appreciation when she refused to leave the field as Union troops retreated on July 1. Instead, she remained behind, watching over her dead and wounded comrades. The soldiers of the 11th feared she had been killed, but she was found days later, after the battle had ended, and returned to her regiment.

John Lippy took the story to heart and, years later, wrote an account and published it himself in 1962 under the title “The War Dog.”

More than 30 years later, “The War Dog” was long out-of-print when authors Shirley Cubbison and Cindy Stouffer also became intrigued by Sallie’s story. Their collaboration in research and writing produced a more extensive history of the 11th and its mascot “A Colonel, A Flag, And A Dog” “A Colonel, A Flag, And A Dog,” published in 1998.

Though both books are now out-of-print and can be difficult to find, Sallie’s story remains popular with visitors to the Gettysburg Battlefield. Her statue is a favorite spot where many visitors leave small “gifts” – biscuits, flowers, and flags – and some have their pictures taken beside her.

You can read more about “The War Dog” by John Lippy and “A Colonel, A Flag, And A Dog” by Shirley Cubbison and Cindy Stouffer on our Web site, and even purchase a copy if you like. We are delighted to currently have both books available for sale.

To see photos from some of Sallie’s visitors, visit our gallery, and feel free to contact us if you have a photo with Sallie that you’d like to share. We’d love to hear from you.

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Grace, A Loyal Confederate Mascot at Gettysburg

Dogs have figured prominently in art of the Civil War, from illustrations in the popular press of the 1860s to the present day, when noted Civil War artists continue to include them in their paintings. Some of these dogs, like Grace, the mascot of the 2nd Maryland CSA (originally the 1st Maryland Infantry Battalion), would be all but forgotten except for a single instance of loyalty and bravery that captured the popular imagination.

Close-up of Grace, 2nd MD CSA When painter Peter Frederick Rothermel portrayed the July 2 fighting on Culp’s Hill as part of his series on the Battle of Gettysburg, he was inspired to include Grace among the charging Confederates based on a story told by Union General Thomas Kane. In a letter, Kane spoke of finding the wounded dog limping along among the dead and wounded as if looking for an explanation for the carnage. “He licked someone’s hand, they said, after he was perfectly riddled,” Kane wrote. He ordered Grace to be buried with honor, as “the only Christian minded being on either side.”

Rothermel’s painting, “Repulse of General Johnson’s Division by General Geary’s White Star Division,” hangs in the State Museum of Pennsylvania. It is also depicted prominently on a wayside marker on the Gettysburg Battlefield, where visitors can see Grace leading her soldiers’ charge at the site where the action took place.

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