Animals of all kinds were part of the Civil War and very valuable in their working roles and on the battlefield. Horses, mules, donkeys, and even camels accompanied the troops during campaigns.
In modern warfare, dogs are often seen on duty, helping their human comrades in and around the battlefield. It was not uncommon for soldiers the Civil War to have dogs with them, but as companions. There was nothing like having man’s best friend with you for comfort during harsh and hard times of war.
Here is a touching tale of one loyal dog who saved his master’s life, a wounded Rebel Soldier, from an excerpt of a book written six years after the war ended:
“After the battle of Fredericksburg, it fell to my duty to search a given district for any dead or wounded soldiers there might be left, and to bring relief. Near an old brick dwelling I discovered a soldier in gray who seemed to be dead. Lying by his side was a noble dog, with his head flat upon his master’s neck.
As I approached, the dog raised his eyes to me good-naturedly, and began wagging his tail; but he did not change his position. The fact that the animal did not growl, that he did not move, but, more than all, the intelligent, joyful expression of his face, convinced me that the man was only wounded, which proved to be the case.
A bullet had pierced his throat, and faint from the loss of blood, he had fallen down where he lay. His dog had actually stopped the bleeding from the wound by laying his head across it! Whether this was casual or not, I cannot say. But the shaggy coat of the faithful creature was completely matted with his master’s blood.”
Heroes can come in many forms.
Now if that isn’t a man’s best friend, then I don’t know what else is.