Jack, Dog of Company F, the 5th Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers

terrier illustration (jack, 5th ct)

(Illustration based on a painting of a terrier by Charles H. Van Den Eycken 1859-1923)

Intelligent, brave, and feisty, Jack obviously appreciated good order in military life and did his part to see that appropriate decorum was maintained. No doubt he endeared himself to the officers as well as the enlisted men of the 5th Connecticut’s Company F.  Edwin E. Marvin, third captain of the company, told Jack’s story in the regimental history, published in 1889:

“There were many dogs in the regiment which staid in for longer or shorter times, according to their own inclinations or the value placed upon them by the men of the regiment. When the regiment passed through Winchester, a black and tan terrier, weighing perhaps fifteen pounds, joined it and became domiciled in Company F He was named Jack, and although he was not a handsome dog in any respect, he very soon became, on account of his intelligence, a very general favorite. He was a remarkably successful dog in a fight, and would generally maintain himself against any other dog of twice his weight or less. He was fleet and would often overtake and catch a rabbit in a straight away run.

“He had a peculiar respect for the commanding officer of whatever detachment or expedition he was upon. If the whole company was out, he kept close to the captain. If only a platoon he kept with the lieutenant in command. If only a sergeant and squad he kept with the sergeant. On dress parades, which he was very particular to attend, he left the company and went to the rear of the colonel or commander of parade and there seated himself and watched the parade with as much interest and dignity as if had pay for it, or had to make a report of it. He never was known in but one instance to seat himself between the colonel and the regiment. At night he would manage to get inside the blanket and curl around the feet of whoever he slept with, and he was as good as a hot brick for a cold night. He knew how, also, to keep himself free from fleas and vermin of every kind, which was more than his tent mates could do at all times. He took a general supervision of affairs, and at daylight always turned out and nosed around the cook till he was started, and then would look up the orderly and start him. Although all soldiers looked alike, he could tell a Company F man as far as he could see him from any other soldier without mistake, and he never followed others. Of that company for a long time he did not attach himself to anyone in particular, but like some politicians, whenever there was a division went with the majority

“In battle he became highly excited and faced the rebels several feet ahead of the company line, and expressed all the exasperation that a dog can ever show towards an enemy If they ran he would follow them up and get in his little nip at some of their disloyal heels if it was possible. The striking of a shell into the ground near him would make him almost wild, and he would spring about in all directions as if it were possible he was trying to see and catch the missile that had caused such commotion.

“He went home with [Francis E.} Kernan* to Rockville, at the end of his three years’ term of service, and there spent the remainder of his days.”

(*In the company roster his last name appears as Kernon.)

~From “The Fifth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers. A History Compiled From Diaries and Official Reports.”

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