The Schroeder Books
Civil War Animal Heroes:
Mascots, Pets and War
By Charles G. Worman. Published by
SCHROEDER PUBLICATIONS October, 2011. Hardcover
with dust jacket, 288 pages, index, 94 photos illustrations and maps.
ISBN 1-889246-45-X. Price
centuries animals have gone to war involuntarily, and our Civil War was no
exception. A countless number of
four -legged and winged creatures served as soldiers’ and sailors’ pets,
sharing the hardships of military life on land and sea.
A few gained national prominence as regimental mascots, the most famous
being Old Abe, the bald eagle which campaigned with the 8th Wisconsin
Infantry. Pets provided a valuable
service in relieving homesickness and other stresses of war.
Dogs were the most common but cats found favor within the Union and
Confederate navies for their role in combating the hordes of rats and mice
which infested ships. But tales of
such other creatures as squirrels, raccoons, bears, and even a camel are found
within this book. Some accounts are
humorous, but others are tragic. Useful
as pets were as morale builders, they weren’t the essential resource which
horses and mules were for cavalry, artillery, and transportation units as well
as for officers’ mounts. It has
been estimated that more than two million horses and mules served during the
war. Their tales too sometimes are tragic. Best known of officers’ mounts are
Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Traveller and perhaps “Stonewall” Jackson’s Little
Sorrel. The skeleton of Old Fly of
the 1st Indiana Cavalry is exhibited in an obscure museum in Indiana.
The stories of these animal heroes were drawn largely from memoirs,
regimental histories, and Civil War letters.
They offer insight into a little studied
aspect of this very uncivil war’s history and should be of interest not
only to students of that conflict but to animal lovers as well.
Bio: Charles G. Worman is a retired curator/deputy director of the
National Museum of the U. S. Air Force and is a Fellow of the Company of
Military Historians. He co-authored
the two volume series Firearms of the
American West 1803-1894 and is the author of Gunsmoke
and Saddle Leather: Firearms in the Nineteenth Century American West and Firearms
in American History: A Guide for Writers, Curators, and General Readers. He
has appeared in episodes of the television series The
Real West and Tales of the Gun. An
advocate for the humane treatment of animals, he is a volunteer at a sanctuary
for abused or abandoned horses.
War Animal Heroes: Mascots, Pets and War Horses
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