Civil War soldiers faced the dangers of the battlefield with great valor, but they also had to come to terms with the boredom and loneliness that was part and parcel of army life. To help cope with the stresses of military service, many soldiers adopted pets or mascots that traveled with their owners on the march and in battle. One of the most famous Civil War mascots was “Old Abe,” the eagle mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry, but all manner of creatures served as mascots. Probably the most common mascot was the dog, and they came in a wonderful variety of breeds and sizes. The importance of these canine companions to the soldiers they followed should not be underestimated; the following story, published in the Vicksburg Daily Herald, on July 21, 1864, illustrates this fact.
A DOG ON THE BATTLEFIELD – A TRUE STORY