Rank has its privileges, including, in this case, a valuable hunting dog.
“Anecdote of the ‘Pointer Dog’ and How Colonel Blanden Came By It”
“During the halt which the 16th Corps made at Greenville, on its way to Montgomery, Captain Hopkins, then in command of the 44th Missouri regiment, had procured a fine pointer dog, and brought him to Montgomery, with the intention of taking him North. Whether the animal was purchased, or strayed from the rightful owner and followed after the Captain at his solicitation, it is unnecessary here to decide; but, at least, the Captain considered that, having full possession of the property, his title was valid, certainly as against all other officers and soldiers. On arriving at Montgomery, he therefore kept him well secured at his head-quarters. One day, however, the dog released himself from this confinement, and by chance wandered over to Colonel Blanden’s head-quarters, which were near by. The Colonel, unaware that it belonged to his friend, Captain Hopkins, and supposing it had strayed into camp from some neighboring plantation, decided to tie it securely near his own head-quarters, and congratulated himself on having found a valuable pointer dog, which he designed to take home with him. Several days passed, and the dog was still secure at the Colonel’s head-quarters, unclaimed, and he now considered himself undisturbed in the possession and ownership of the property. One evening, after the Colonel had retired for the night and was fast asleep, a communication was received at regimental head quarters, from Captain Hopkins, which read as follows :
“Head Quarters 44th Missouri Infantry Volunteers,
Camp near Montgomery, Ala., May 2, 1865.
“COLONEL : I have the honor to request that you permit the bearer to take charge of a certain ‘pointer purp’ said to be in your possession, which I claim to be owner of.
“The said animal is of the male persuasion, has a double nose, is liver-colored and white.
“Said ‘dorg’ strayed from my camp on or about Saturday, April 29th, 1865.
“Hoping you will comply with this modest request, I have the honor to be, Colonel,
“Very resp’y, your obed’t serv’t,
“Capt. FRANK G. HOPKINS,
“Commanding 44th Mo. Inf’y.
“Col. L. BLANDEN,
Com’d’g 95th Ill. Inf’y.”
“The colonel was immediately aroused from his slumbers by the adjutant, who presented the communication, and desired to know what disposition should be made of it. The latter was instructed to send ‘the bearer’ back to camp without the dog, and to return the captain’s communication, with such strong endorsement as the circumstances of the case called for. At a late hour the same night, therefore, the following endorsement was written on the back of the captain’s paper, and sent over to him about midnight :
“Head-quarters 95th Ill. Infantry Vols ,
“Camp near Montgomery, Ala., May 2nd, 1865. }
“Respectfully returned to the commanding officer of the 41th Mo. Inft’y Vols., with the information that a ‘Purp,’ answering somewhat to the description contained in the within canine communication came to these head-quarters on or about April 29th, 1865, hungry, exhausted, and apparently without owner. The animal exhibited every evidence that it had not been long absent from some planter’s home, and was not used to the ways and customs of the army. The thought then suggested itself that said pointer dog might, shortly since, have been the pet of some fair one at Greenville, and have strayed away through the enticing efforts of some mischievous soldier belonging to ‘Smith’s Guerrillas,’ though the undersigned does not suppose for a moment that the within claimant formed his proprietary interest (if he has any) in said animal, in any such manner.
“The within-mentioned dog, since his advent to these head-quarters, has been well fed, well treated, and well tied to a tree near my tent, showing conclusively that his presence hereabouts has been open and undisguised, and consequently my possession up to the present date, has been of the most innocent character. In conclusion, I would say that the within description does not identify the animal in question with sufficient particularity, and it being too late this evening to determine all the points referred to within, I would therefore request a personal interview with the claimant, at these head-quarters, to-morrow morning, when he can prove property, pay charges, and take his ‘Purp.’
“By order of
“Col. Com’dg Regt.
“W. W. WOOD,
“The captain did not appear, however, on the following morning to press his claim. He was so much pleased with the endorsement in reply to his own communication that he had nothing more to say on the subject of dogs, and insisted that the colonel should remain in undisturbed possession of the ‘double-nosed pointer.’”
~ From “A history of the Ninety-fifth regiment, Illinois infantry volunteers : from its organization in the fall of 1862, until its final discharge from the United States service, in 1865,” by Wales W. Wood, Esq., 1865
(The author is the very same W.W. Wood, adjutant, who provided Colonel Blanden with his compelling argument for ownership of the double-nosed “purp.”)
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