Harvey: Civil War's Barking Dog

Harvey became famous in history as a Civil War dog who stood by his men, during the good and bad times.

During the Civil War it was not uncommon for soldiers to bring their dogs with them. Daniel M. Stearns of Wellsville, Ohio was one of them. He and his dog Harvey, a bull terrier, became part of the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Company F in 1862. Harvey, one of three mascot dogs with the company, was the only one to serve the full three years of active duty with the unit - longer than most of the men. During his time of service, he would bark at the enemy and was wounded at least twice when his company went into battle. The first time he was wounded he was captured and returned the next day under a flag of truce.

The soldiers of Company F often wrote home about the dogs. Captain William Jordan wrote his children describing Harvey and Colonel as "having the run of the regiment." The two dogs would sleep in whatever tent that best suited them for the night. Jordan also wrote to his family how Teaser, the other canine mascot, ran after one of the company's pet squirrel and how Harvey saved the rodent by picking it up in his mouth and bringing it out of harm's way. Another letter, written by Private Adam Weaver to his brother, told about Harvey attending campfire sing-alongs. Harvey would sway from side to side and bark while the men sang. Some believed the dog was joining in with the music but according to Weaver "My idea is that the noise hurts his ears as it does mine!"

Stearns was proud of his dog and when promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in 1862 he had a special brass tag made to hang on his dog's collar that read "I am Lieutenant D.M. Stearns dog. Whose dog are you?" In 1865 Company F mustered out of the military when the Confederate Army surrendered. After the war, the regiment had a portrait of Harvey painted so they could display it at reunions, and their favorite mascot's picture was on the badges the men wore during the social gathering.

Harvey survived his wounds and it is believed he lived his remaining days with Stearns.