Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Zip, the Civil War Dog, article in the Youth's Companion 1894


Zip, the Civil War Dog Soldier, article in the Youth's Companion 1894

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IF domestic animals were as long-lived as men, and were eligible to the Grand Army of the Republic and the Confederate Veterans' Associations, those honorable organizations would have many four-legged members, not to speak of two-legged members who were not men, but birds.

Hundreds of regiments or companies had with them in the Civil War a dog, cat or other animals which followed them wherever they went, and not infrequently went into action with them.

The most famous of the non-human combatants was undoubtedly Old Abe, the war eagle of the Eighth Wisconsin Regiment, whose history has often been told, and whose loud screams were heard in many battles, as he circled about over the smoke of the guns. But there were other animal combatants who were as warlike as he though they failed to win fame.

The story of such an antagonist has lately been related in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat by Captain Fred Smith, who was a soldier in an Illinois battery of light artillery in the Civil War. When he enlisted at Mattoon his dog Zip followed him. Zip was a common and unprepossessing "yaller" dog. Smith sent him home, but he refused to stay. The captain took  a liking to the dog, and allowed him to remain in camp, and when the battery was ordered South, Zip went, too.

Some very active service followed, in all of which the dog took a prominent part. He would take up a position near the field pieces, and bark defiance at the enemy.

At Shiloh a shell exploded within ten feet of Zip, cutting off three inches of his bushy tail. So far from being disabled by this wound, he was greatly stimulated by it, and advanced on the enemy, barking furiously. The lines were about five hundred yards apart, and shot and shell were flying thick as hail.

Zip had gone about three hundred yards toward the Confederate battery, when a knight of his own kind rushed out to meet him. It happened that the Confederate battery had a dog, too, a black one, much bigger than Zip.

There was no skirmishing between the dogs before the battle opened. They were instantly engaged all along the line, horse, foot and dragoons, so to speak. The Confederates ceased their firing, and began to cheer on their dog. The Union artillerymen did the same.

For fully ten minutes the batteries stood still while the gunners watched the contest between their representatives, who were like two chosen knights of old. "Sic him, Tig!" the Confederates shouted, and "Go it, Zip! Tear him up, Zip!" the Union soldiers screamed, while the two dogs sought to fight out in their own persons the cause of the North and South. Presently a Confederate sergeant threw a stone at Zip.

"Keep your hands off that dog!" yelled the captain of the Illinois battery, and trained a gun on the Confederate group. That set both batteries to going again; and still, beneath the rain of iron, the two dogs fought on.

Smith owns, sorrowfully, that Zip got the worst of it. He was too small for his antagonist; but when he at last crawled out of the fight the Union battery threw a six-pound shell into the Confederate dog, and blew him to pieces. Zip recovered, and followed his master all through the war.— Youth's Companion.


A Tribute to my Beloved Dog

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