Friday, February 1, 2013

A CIVIL WAR DOG FROM ILLINOIS

Early in the Civil War, a Chicago man named Louis Pfeiff joined the Union Army.  And when he went off to war, he took his dog along with him.  The other men in the regiment really liked the dog, so they made him their mascot.  I wish I could tell you the name of this dog, but I guess the historians forgot to write it down, and now nobody remembers it.

The regiment that Lt. Pfeiff was in joined up with a whole bunch of other regiments, and they formed the Army of West Tennessee.  Their commander was Major General Ulysses S. Grant.  They went down into the south part of Tennessee, to a place called Pittsburg Landing, on the Tennessee River.  While they were there, the Confederates, whose leaders were Generals Johnston and Beauregard, made a surprise attack on them, and there was a huge, bloody battle.  The battle was called the Battle of Pittsburg Landing or the Battle of Shiloh.



The date when the battle started was April 6, 1862, and on that day General Johnston got killed, which made the rebel army less confident that they could win.  So on the second day, April 7, General Grant pushed the Confederates back to Corinth, Mississippi and defeated them there.

During the Battle of Shiloh, about 23,746 soldiers died, and 13,047 of these were Union troops.  Sadly, one of the dead soldiers was Louis Pfeiff.







I would just like to stop here and mention that one of Mom's great-grandfathers, William Lee, fought on the Confederate side in the Battles of Shiloh and Corinth.  His brother, James Lee, was in the same Arkansas regiment.  Neither of them got killed during these battles, and in fact, both of them survived the whole war.  It's strange to think that if William Lee had been killed during the war, Mom would not have been born, and then I wouldn't have been adopted by her.  In fact, it's so strange to think about this that I try not to!






But anyway, now I will go on with the story of Louis Pfeiff's dog.  After Lt. Pfeiff got killed at Shiloh, his widow traveled by herself all the way from Chicago to Tennessee to find her husband's body and take it back home to be buried there.  Mrs. Pfeiff spent lots and lots of time looking at all the markers where the dead soldiers had been buried really quickly after the battle.  She asked everybody if they knew her husband or if they had seen his name on one of the markers, but nobody could help her.




Mrs. Pfeiff was getting very sad and frustrated when suddenly she saw a dog, and the dog saw her and started coming to meet her.  Mrs. Pfeiff realized it was the dog her husband had taken with him to war.  She hugged the dog and was very happy to see him.  He was happy to see her too.  Then, guess what!  The dog led her to Lt. Pfeiff's grave, which turned out to be way down at the end of a row, under a tree, and it didn't have any marker on it.

Then Mrs. Pfeiff asked for the grave to be opened, and her husband really was inside it.  I don't know what condition the body was in, but I think it probably did not smell very nice by then.  Mrs. Pfeiff was happy to be able to take her husband home, though, so he could be buried in Illinois.  Later on, she learned that her husband's dog had been with him when he died and had stayed by his grave for 12 days.  He was a very loyal dog, and I hope he had a long and happy life back home in Illinois with Mrs. Pfeiff.  Plus I still wish I knew what his name was.






2 comments:

  1. A wonderful story about a dog's loyalty! We hope you will learn the dog's name one day. Dogs did a lot to raise soldiers' spirits at one of the bleakest times in our history, and they continue to support American soldiers all over the world today. They truly are a soldier's best friend!

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    1. Thank you for writing a comment on my blog. Of course, I totally agree that dogs are the most loyal pets ever and that they do an excellent job helping our troops.

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