Monday, January 14, 2013

Tika & A Good Story

From the Hempstead Inquirer, Hempstead, L.I. Saturday, January 17, 1863
"A Dog On The Battle Field"
The following is related of a dog that belonged to one of the companies of the 8th Regiment Illinois Volunteers. He, at an early age, became a great favorite of the regiment…not on account of his beauty, for he is a homely little fellow, but be reason of the loving and kind disposition manifested toward all into whose society he was permitted to come.

When this regiment left Bird's Point on their expedition up the Tennessee, this  dog "Marshall" … for that is his name… left with them. Wherever the regiment moved… in pitching or in striking tents, on drill or in preparing meals, on a march or on board transports, from one point to another…Marshall was a constant attendant.

Marshall, after supper, would go the rounds of each company to see if everything was right, and would then come to his master's tent and quietly lie down for the night.

During the early part of the battle, at the siege of Fort Donelson, he seemed very much excited by what was passing around him, and would run from point to point, apparently in the deepest anxiety, as it to inquire what all the noise meant.

During the nights of Thursday and Friday, when the regiment slept on their arms, amid rain, snow and ice, this little creature could not sleep or be quiet, because those whom he loved were suffering. His sympathetic nature seemed in perfect accord with the feelings which, during the stirring scenes, filled every human breast.
On Saturday morning, when the battle was at its fiercest point…a time when grape, canister, shells, Minnie balls, and buckshot filled the air with their sharp, quick, hissing, whizzing, fearful sound, and when the ranks on both sides were terribly cut down, our little dog, either frightened by some passing cannon ball or by the bursting of a shell nearby, took himself during the day away from the scene. At a very late hour, when the firing ceased, Marshall made his appearance in great joy.

Going hastily the rounds of the regiment to see if all was well, he came back to his master's tent very uneasy and much troubled about something. Not finding any relief in his home tent, round the regiment he again ran, and returned as before, excited  and in trouble. But without any stay there, off he ran again, and this time to the battle-field. There he walked among the wounded, dying and dead, to find the object of his search.
Strangers, whether in other regiments or in the ranks of the enemy, received no attention from the dog, intent upon finding the object of his search.

In his faithful search for such among the many wounded and slain lying there, little Marshall found the body of Captain W., of Company I, wounded in the left side by the fragments of a bursting shell. It was a fearful wound, rendering the Captain completely helpless…unable even to move a limb, though not depriving him of life, or rendering him insensible to his condition.

Captain W. noticed the approach of the dog, just as the shades of evening was gathering around him. He thought if a harbinger of good…evidence of the coming of someone to removed him from that sad scene of agony and suffering, where, by a sad, oversight, he had lain from 10 A.M. until that time.
But the dog only came to keep vigil with him during that long, cold night.

Seemingly to comprehend the sufferings of the one whom he loved, this sympathetic little creature would caress the wounded Captain in very way he could…now lying down close beside him, now roused up again by the groans of the suffering soldier, and then in a most affectionate manner, lapping his hands as if we would soothe and comfort him in such an hour. In this way and in such a battle-field vigil, our faithful dog passed the night with the wounded Captain.

In the morning, when his master was removed to the hospital, and his wound was cared for, the little dog who had been his only companion during the past night, sought again the regiment, and resumed his accustomed quiet habits.

Such is the fidelity of a dog. 

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