Companion & Comrade: Harvey the Mascot of the 104th Ohio Infantry
Originally published in the Battlefield Dispatch Vol. 4 No. 4 Fall 2016 - read the rest of the issue here.
Harvey, beloved mascot of the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was a veteran by the time of the Battle of Franklin. When Harvey’s owner Daniel Stearns joined the Federal Army in 1862, Harvey came along. Both dog and master served during the Virginia Pennisular campaign and by the end of 1862, Daniel Stearns had been promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. During this time, Harvey is said to have worn a collar which stated: “I am Lieutenant D.M. Stearns’ dog; whose dog are you?” By 1863, Stearns and Harvey had fulfilled their enlistment, but they rejoined the army, this time in the 104th Ohio. Stearns served as the First Sergeant for the newly formed regiment and the men quickly grew to know his companion. Harvey was not the only pet in the regiment during this time. There were known to have been several dogs, and at least two squirrels, and raccoons.
“The Barking Dog Regiment,” as the 104th Ohio was sometimes called, was active in the Atlanta campaign and it was there, near Kennesaw Mountain, where Harvey was wounded. He ultimately rejoined his comrades and made a full recovery. As the Federal troops moved into Tennessee, the 104th Ohio found themselves in a precarious position. On the edge of Franklin, the regiment was positioned just to the south of a sizable cotton gin. On the afternoon of November 30, Adam Weaver of Co. I, wrote “The regiment’s mascot, old dog Harvey, just paid us a visit. He somehow always looks me up. After a little bite and a hand pat too, moves on to Company ‘F’ boys.” Despite their position, both Stearns and Harvey survived the Battle of Franklin.
The pair moved with the army north to Nashville where Stearns suffered a debilitating injury during the battle. It is unclear what happened to Harvey after his owner was injured at the Battle of Nashville. Despite many years of research, the final chapters of Harvey’s story remain a mystery. Harvey’s owner, Daniel Stearns, survived the war with the serious injury he sustained at Nashville, but was never the same again. He passed away in an insane asylum in 1890.
Harvey’s collar was found with Stearns’ personal effects in the 1990s and has been generously loaned to the BOFT by Mark Weldon.