Monday, April 20, 2015

HARVEY: A CIVIL WAR DOG

Harvey was the mascot of the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which means he fought on the Yankee side in the war.  And the Yankees won the war, in case you don't remember your history lessons.  Harvey came to the 104th Ohio when his master, Daniel M. Stearns of Wellsville, OH joined the unit.  Before that, the two of them had been with the 8th Pennsylvania Reserves.

Daniel Stearns was 29 when he signed up with the infantry.  Right away, he was made a First Lieutenant.  He was promoted to Second Lieutenant on May 9, 1864, and to Captain on January 6, 1865.  Lt. Stearns got a brass tag made for Harvey's collar that said, "I am Lt. D.M. Stearns dog.  Whose dog are you?"




The regimental historian described Company F of the 104th Ohio as having "an undue proportion of 'toughs' and 'deadbeats'," in addition to three dogs.  The other two dogs were named Colonel and Teaser, and because of them the regiment was called the "barking dog regiment."

One of the members of Company F, Captain William Jordan, wrote a letter to his children on Valentine's Day, 1864, telling them about the soldiers' pets.  He described Harvey and Colonel as "veteran soldier dogs" who "go into any of the tents that they want and lay down at night or stand with the sentinels on guard."  Teaser had only just joined the group, so Captain Jordan didn't talk about him.  Other mascots kept by the men of Company F included a cat, two tame raccoons, and a couple of squirrels.






Whenever the men sat around the campfire and sang songs, Harvey liked to sit with them.  Private Adam Weaver of Company I wrote in a letter to his brother that Harvey would bark and sway while the men sat around singing.  "My idea," he said, "is that the noise hurts his ears as it does mine!"  He also told his brother that Harvey had paid him a visit while he was on picket duty.

Harvey posing with the regiment's cornet band in Tennessee

Harvey was wounded at least twice when his company went into battle.  While they were involved in the Atlanta campaign, Harvey was wounded and captured on Kennesaw Mountain.  The next day, he was returned under a flag of truce.  In November of the same year, 1864, Harvey was wounded again in the Battle of Franklin, TN.  Luckily, he was able to recover nicely from his wounds.

Lieutenant Stearns, Harvey's owner, served for a time as an aide to Brigadier General James Reilly.  While doing this, he was badly injured when his horse fell while jumping Confederate entrenchments.  Lt. Stearns got well enough to finish out the war with his regiment.





The Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered out on June 17, 1865.  During its time of service, 3 officers and 46 enlisted men from the regiment were killed or mortally wounded in combat.  Four officers and 130 enlisted men died of disease.  This added up to 183 men who died out of the 1,740 men who served at various times in the regiment.











After the war, the members of the 104th had a portrait of Harvey painted so that they could display it at reunions.  Harvey's image was also used on keepsake buttons.  There is really no record of what happened to Harvey himself after the war, but he probably went back home to Ohio with Captain Stearns.

1886 Reunion of the 104th Ohio, including portrait of Harvey
Photo from Massillon, Ohio, Museum

Because of his severe injury, Daniel Stearns was granted a pension after the war.  Sadly, he later became insane and was put in the Northern Ohio Insane Asylum.  He died there in 1890.


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