Larry Kelly and His Dog, “Watch,” Reunited in Eternity

Sketch-artillery crew and dog

Albion Winegar Tourgée, historian of the 105th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, recounted the story of Larry Kelly and his dog, Watch, who served in the regiment together until a fateful day in August 1864:

“Everyone in the regiment knew Larry. His dog, too, had long been a fixture of the regiment. When leaving Louisville, Ky., on the Perryville campaign this dog came bounding to our (Parson’s) battery. He immediately enlisted for the war. attaching himself to the battery and to the gun to which Larry belonged. He made it his business to look after the interests of the battery in general and that gun in particular. He distinguished himself by his strict watchfulness over all the property of the battery when strangers were about, and his excellent judgment in determining who were proper characters to have around. At Perryville he shared in the dangers and glory of the occasion and received a wound. When the battery was broken up and Larry returned the regiment, “Watch” (this dog) accompanied him and has ever since followed this regiment faithfully, always ready “for duty, ” always in the front, joining in the sports of the regiment with zest, knowing, by instinct apparently, when a pig was to be “foraged” and following on to catch the “game” and receive his share of the prize.

“Last night, while scouting about our picket line, he received a wound which proved mortal. Larry was almost inconsolable but he had not long to mourn his constant companion. This morning a stray shot, such as killed his dog, hit him….”

“As I was passing Co. C,  going to my breakfast this morning,” Tourgée explained, “a ball came in, striking Larry Kelly of that company as he sat over a fire cooking his breakfast. It entered near his collar bone, passing down, inflicting a mortal wound.”

~From “The Story of a Thousand: Being a History of the Service of the 105th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in the War For the Union From August 21, 1862 to June 6, 1865,” 1896.

(The modern illustration above is adapted from Alfred Waud’s sketch, “Union Artillery at Petersburg,” in the Library of Congress, shown below. See the original at https://www.loc.gov/item/2004660866/.)

Waud artillery sketch (LOC)

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