Friday, November 11, 2011
YORK: A CIVIL WAR DOG
Anyway, there were lots of dogs in the Civil War because the soldiers liked having pets, even though they weren't supposed to have them. This is kind of the same situation as in Iraq and Afghanistan today, where soldiers sneak puppies or kitties into their barracks. A lot of times, the officers pretend not to notice because it makes the soldiers happier to have an animal around to play with and love on. During the Civil War, the fighting men didn't just have dogs, but they also made pets out of cats, squirrels, raccoons, possums, and other wildlife.
Some of the Civil War dogs were strays that came into the camps, but other times, a soldier would bring his dog to war with him. Sometimes these dogs did helpful things such as carrying messages or guarding the camp, but other times they were just companions to the troops. And when there was a battle, they might go out and bark fiercely at the enemy.
In 1851, Mr. Asboth came to the U.S. When the war started, he joined the Union Army. He became a brigadier general in 1862, after he was nominated by President Lincoln and approved by the Senate. Gen. Asboth led troops into battle in Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, and Florida.
People described the general as brave, kind, noble, and courteous. Also he liked all kinds of animals. A historian named William Watson Davis said, "When not engaged in the barbarous practice of pillaging, Asboth was a refined yet amusing fellow with a great love for flowers and a keen interest in dogs and fine horses." He was easy to recognize because he had a really humongous, long mustache. And he liked to wear a blanket made out of camel hair instead of an overcoat.
Later in the war, General Asboth got some bad wounds in the Battle of Marianna, in Florida. This happened on September 27, 1864. The general got hit in the left cheek-bone and in his left arm. He was able to get well enough so that he could command his troops again, but the wounds never healed up completely.
After the war, in 1866, General Asboth became the U.S. Minister to Argentina and Uruguay. He died in Argentina in 1868 because of an infection in the war wounds that never healed up. I don't know what happened to York. He wasn't mentioned after the Battle of Pea Ridge. I hope he didn't get shot or anything like that. I like to think of him lying in the sun in South America beside General Asboth's chair, getting fed yummy food from the table.