Wednesday, July 26, 2017


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"During the summer of 1862, there was some pretty fierce fighting near and around Richmond, Virginia. During a lull in one such battle, a Confederate artillerist rubbed the smoke out of his eyes and when his vision cleared, he saw a small puppy waddling out of the woods, making its way to the line of cannoneers of the Richmond Howitzer Battalion. The frightened little puppy was white, with black spots mixed in its short hair, and it ran right up to the surprised artillerist, who scooped him up and out of harm's way. The puppy was almost immediately named “Stonewall Jackson” in honor of the beloved commanding general. 

Stonewall grew and thrived in the camp with the men of the artillery. He became especially attached to the chief of the gun crew, Sergeant Van, who taught Stonewall the fine points of soldiering. Van taught the dog to stand at attention clenching a little pipe between its teeth. Then, just before roll call, Van took the pipe from the dog's mouth and inserted it between the toes of the dog's forepaw. During roll call, Stonewall dropped his paw to his side and stood straight and stiff at attention, eyes front, until the company was dismissed.

Stonewall, like his namesake, was very brave during battle, dashing about wildly, barking whenever there was a lull in the shooting. But the men worried about the little dog's safety during battle, and quite often when the artillery came under fire, someone would put him in an ammunition box out of danger. Stonewall was never wounded.

Like his namesake, as well, canine Stonewall's reputation for intelligence and bravery spread through the Army of Northern Virginia. He was much loved by the men of both the Richmond Howitzer Battalion and the Louisianans of Brigadier Gen. Harry Hays. When the Louisiana troops were sent to a different theatre of war, they apparently “invited” Stonewall to accompany them. The Richmond artillerists were never reunited with “their” dog, although there were numerous attempts to locate “Stonewall.” However, they were assured that he was in a safe place and survived the war."


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