After the Carnage of Antietam, Among the Mourners Was Man’s Best Friend


Grayfriars Bobby, a Scottish Skye Terrier identified for as soon as guarding his proprietor’s grave in Edinburgh for 14 years, is an apt reminder of the deep and lengthy connection and affection between canines and people all through historical past. For so long as there have been troopers within the earliest fashioned armies, they’ve had canines as pets and mascots. In a private, fashionable instance, my son’s Military scout platoon in Afghanistan adopted a feminine Afghan Kuchi pet that it named “Scout.” Scout was so particular and necessary that Jason went by appreciable effort to have her despatched residence when he left, and she or he lives fortunately with him in the USA immediately. At Antietam in September 1862, numerous models in each armies had been accompanied by devoted canine companions, and plenty of of them went into battle alongside their human comrades.

Probably the most well-known of those military canines was a Staffordshire terrier named Sallie, adopted as a pet by the eleventh Pennsylvania Infantry within the spring of 1861. Many immediately know Sallie from her sculpture on the entrance of the regiment’s monument at Gettysburg. Sallie grew to become a favourite with the regiment and a star within the brigade. George Kimball, a soldier within the twelfth Massachusetts, wrote how a lot he loved visiting the eleventh Pennsylvania’s camp simply to observe Sallie when the regiment carried out gown parade. He wrote of observing the “drum corps slowly marching down the entrance, the colonel [Richard Coulter] with folded arms calmly wanting into the faces of the boys and Sallie mendacity on the ft of the colour bearer, as if she beloved to be within the shadow of the flag.”

It was stated that if the eleventh skilled a very extreme march, the unit might be counted upon to be represented at its conclusion “by a colonel, a flag and a canine,” for Sallie by no means straggled. She additionally by no means shirked a battle and went in with the eleventh when it marched by David Miller’s Cornfield at Antietam the morning of
September 17, 1862.

Not removed from Sallie, a black-and-white Newfoundland breed trotted alongside the Hagerstown Pike with its proprietor, Captain Werner von Bachelle of the sixth Wisconsin. The German-born von Bachelle was considerably a soldier of fortune. He had educated at a Swiss army academy and noticed service within the French military and with Garibaldi within the warfare for Italian unification.

A fellow officer described the German as a “tall and stalwart soldier” and inflexible disciplinarian. As a result of his English was restricted and his demeanor reserved and formal, he had few mates among the many regiment’s officers, however the troopers of his Firm F developed a keenness for his or her captain. Earlier in the summertime, when the sixth Wisconsin was stationed close to Fredericksburg, Va., the black-and-white canine wandered into Firm F’s camp. The boys knew how a lot von Bachelle beloved animals, in order that they gave him the canine as a pet. The 2 had been quickly inseparable, turning into the “most devoted mates on earth.”

Von Bachelle educated the creature to present army salutes “and different exceptional issues”—the place he went, he was all the time accompanied by his canine. That morning of September 17, it was with him as they superior astride the Hagerstown Pike on the spearpoint of the Union 1st Corps’ assault. Firm F stretched straight throughout the turnpike within the regimental line. They handed the David Miller Farm and the left of the regiment entered Miller’s 30-acre cornfield. The bottom sloped as much as a slight east-west ridge simply south of the corn. Because the regiment neared this level, a Accomplice limber and gun abruptly burst into view and disappeared behind the ridge driving south alongside the pike. Von Bachelle’s firm was ordered to hustle to the ridge and shoot up the enemy gun crew. Once they reached the crest of the ridge, they had been confronted by two small brigades of Accomplice infantry mendacity at their proper entrance. The Rebels shortly rose and blasted Firm F. Hit not less than 12 instances, von Bachelle was killed immediately.

German-born Captain Werner von Bachelle of the sixth Wisconsin bonded instantly with a stray canine given him by his males. (Wisconsin Historic Society)

A soldier within the 1st Delaware, writing beneath the pseudonym “Billy,” famous that each firm within the regiment had a canine as a mascot, however the boldest of the lot was “Scott,” who belonged to Firm G and adopted it at Antietam in the course of the regiment’s assault on the Sunken Lane. In response to Billy, when a strong shot struck close to Scott, the canine commenced digging furiously on the spot. At one level, Scott mounted a cost on the enemy, working up barking to what was most likely the rail fence on the southern fringe of Samuel Mumma’s cornfield, the place he “put his paws on it, intentionally gazed at Secesh, then beat a masterly retreat again to the corporate.” He then proceeded to run backwards and forwards alongside the regiment’s line, and though “the bullets rained thick and quick” he escaped unscathed. Scott was exceedingly fortunate, as the first Delaware suffered 230 casualties that day—the heaviest lack of any regiment in Maj. Gen. William French’s third Division.

The sixth New Hampshire had what was most likely a Chesapeake breed, an ocher-colored canine they’d adopted as a pet in Elizabeth Metropolis, N.C. It grew to become referred to as the “Sixth Regiment Canine” and accompanied the regiment in camp, on the march, and in battle. On the morning of September 17, it joined the regiment when it and the 2nd Maryland made the second try to seize the Rohrback Bridge. “Canine typically worry firearms when discharged in volleys,” recalled the regimental historian, however “this one went fearlessly into battle.” Like Scott and Sallie, the Sixth Regiment Canine survived the fight its regiment engaged in that day.

However similar to the boys they went into battle with, there was not a contented ending for some canines. Captain von Bachelle’s Newfoundland loyally remained by his facet when he was killed and refused to depart his physique regardless that urged to take action by a number of the captain’s males. This was some of the hotly contested spots on your entire Antietam battlefield and models fought over the world all through the morning. The subsequent morning a burial element from the sixth Wisconsin discovered von Bachelle’s beloved pet mendacity throughout the captain’s physique. They buried them collectively. And Sallie might have survived Antietam however she didn’t survive the warfare. She was wounded at Spotsylvania and killed at Hatcher’s Run in February 1865. Like Grayfriars Bobby, Sallie and von Bachelle’s Newfoundland had been loyal to their human companions unto demise. 

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