Civil War

104th OVI and Harvey the Dog

104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Officers of the 104th OVI
Collection of the Massillon Museum (BC 723.2.1)

By the summer of 1862, it was obvious that the war was going to be much longer and bloodier than first imagined.  More men would be needed for a much longer period of time.  In July, President Lincoln issued a call to the various Northern states for 300,000 volunteers. In Ohio, the state’s quota for volunteers was met and surpassed. Among those new three-year regiments was the 104th.

The companies that would form the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry began arriving in Massillon early in August 1862; but Camp Massillon was not ready for their arrival. The camp was a large open field on low bluffs just west of the Tuscarawas River in the town of Massillon. There were no tents or supplies of any kind for the men. The first weeks were spent organizing, drilling, and building structures in which the men would eventually reside. At night, the men stayed in hotels and private residences in town until the camps were ready.

By August 29, the regiment was assembled, equipped, and mustered into Federal service.  It numbered 1,017 men.  Four of its companies were from Columbiana County, three from Stark County, two from Portage County, and one from Summit County.


Harvey the Dog

Mustered in August of 1862, the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) served under Colonel James W. Reilly.  During its three years of active duty in the American Civil War, the unit adopted at least three canine mascots: Colonel, Teaser, and Harvey. 

Harvey wandered into the 104th camp in 1862.  He was adopted by Company “F” and stayed with the men throughout their time in the Civil War.  The regiment first engaged the Confederates on September 5, 1862, at Fort Mitchell.  In the spring of 1864, the regiment joined up with Major General William Tecumseh Sherman for his famed March to the Sea.

All of the 104th OVI’s dogs were considered Veteran soldiers, but Harvey was perhaps the most special of the three.  He was reportedly wounded at least three times: in Virginia, at Resaca, and at the Battle of Franklin in Tennessee.  Harvey also served more time in the regiment than any of the enlisted men.  Adopted by Daniel M. Stearns, his dog tag read “I am Lieutenant D.M. Stearns dog.  Whose dog are you?” 

It is estimated that 100,000-plus canines who have served in the line of duty alongside enlisted military personnel.  From delivering messages, tracking, and attacking, dogs have served in a number of official positions for centuries.   Dogs have been used in battle and times of war since the time of the Ancient Egyptians.  Canines were used for defense and to attack enemies.  Irish wolfhounds used against the Norman invaders in Medieval Ireland were capable of tearing men in full armor from their horses.  As recent as this year, in the operation to find Osama Bin Laden, a Belgian Malinois named Cairo served and aided the United States Navy SEALS.




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