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OLD BUTCH
MASCOT, INDIAN FIGHTER AND MARCHER


Old Butch was originally the Mascot of Company I, 4th United States Infantry, posted at San Diego, California, in June 1861.  The Fourth U.S. Infantry was ordered back to the seat of the war, in 1861, and Company G, 1st California Volunteer Infantry replacing them prior to their departure.

Old Butch, then at about 10 years of age, was given to Company G, and they took on the responsibility of his care.  For the remainder of his life, Old Butch was cared for by the men of Company G.

When Company G, First California Infantry, was ordered to Fort Yuma, to be a part of the Union forces then being formed and readied for their march to the Rio Grande, Old Butch was part of this movement and made his first march with Company G.

How many marches had Old Butch made with Company I, prior to his first march with Company G, no one knows, but seeing the way that the regular companies moved about, one can be assured that Old Butch marched many a mile on those old pads, never whimpering, but always following the men where their travels might take them.

Old Butch, now at Fort Yuma, California was a part of the California Column and ready for the march of his life.  On May 8, 1862, several men of Company G, were selected to be part of Lieutenant William A. Thompson's Howitzer Battery.  The following men of Company G, were selected to be part of this unit: 
Privates Charles M. O'Brien, Frederick Winnel, Christian Pape, and John H. Fleming and of course Old Butch.  There is no record of who was Butch's caretaker, but it had to be one of the above mention.  Old Butch was now an Artillerist.

The march commenced from Yuma to Tucson, and one can imagine running, yapping, yipping, chasing quail, jackrabbits, cotton trail rabbits and probably nipping he heels of the mules, along the line of march.  He was cared for and loved by the men.

Once in Tucson, Old Butch, had a little rest and relaxation, and I am sure he did a little socializing with the ladies of his kind in Tucson, and probably now there are still a few descendents still carrying Old Butch's blood line.

Thompson's Howitzer Battery now made up the second detachment to march to the Rio Grande from Tucson, along with Company E, 1st California Infantry, Company B, 2d California Cavalry and the wagon train. Old Butch was now part of a mini brigade, and on his way eastward to the Rio Grande.  Again, one can see a happy running and yipping dog along the line of march to the east.

When this detachment reached Apache Pass there ensued a fight there. Soldiers vs. the Apaches and of course Old Butch, maybe for his first combat.  There he ran about, sniffing out Indians, and keeping track of his fellow Company G comrades, but one of his comrades was not destined to survive the battle, Private Charles M. O'Brien, would be killed in the first fire -- an attack on the rear of the column.

The next day the fight was again commenced, again the soldiers fought and in the end with the aid of the howitzers drove off the Apaches.  During the Battle Old Butch was wounded, losing a toe.  Now for sure he was a true veteran, having marched about 750 miles from Yuma to Apache Pass and now had his first combat under his collar. Old Butch accompanied the detachment to San Simon Station where a forward supply was set up under Captain Roberts, with some Cavalry, and of course the Howitzer Battery.   Here Old Butch had a chance to lick his wound, and get the tender loving care that only a soldier can give to their Mascot who was wounded.

Then again on the march to the Rio Grande, here goes Old Butch, sure to have missed Charlie O'Brien, who remained behind, giving his fullest for his country, in a grave in a godforsaken wilderness, a place called Apache Pass.

Once on the Rio Grande at Mesilla, Old Butch now returned to his Company along with the soldiers who had been detached, except for O'Brien.  He was probably a very happy dog to see his fellow Company members again.

One can close their eyes, and see a dog, wagging his tail, smelling, licking, giving nits and slurps, and the men saying Hi Old Butch.  How is your wound, are you feeling okay after the long hard march and fight.  Yes a happy dog again amongst his companions.

Company G, then was transferred to Las Cruces, March 27, 1862, a dirty dusty hamlet also on the Rio Grande River.  Old Butch marched right along, though this time only a short distance and to a new post.

On April 20, 1862, Old Butch and Company G took up the line of march to Franklin, Texas, present day El Paso, and into a Confederate State.  Old Butch along with his Company reached Franklin April 21st, a march of 55 miles.  Now Old Butch was the worlds premier war dog, San Diego, California, to Franklin, Texas, over 1,000 miles on those march worn pads, but a proud and happy dog he was.  A true War Dog.

The above is my narrative of Old Butch a true War Dog, who had marched 1,000 miles, seen combat, losing a toe in combat.

The following is a abstract from the Diary of First Sergeant George Hand, Company G, First California Infantry.

May 1, 1863, Our old dog Butch was found by Lieut. Smith shot through the kidneys. It was a pity.  He was such a good old dog, an old soldier brought up in the army.  He was ten years of age.  Always at musters, guard mounts and all parades.  He had his regular post at all reviews and  seemed very proud of it.  He was kindly treated by all soldiers but some damned villain of an officer shot him.  He was given to us by the regulars at San Diego, when they were leaving for the states.  He followed us through thick & thin ever since, on guard every night.  His post was always no. 1 and bad luck to the man who had no business there.  No officers could come by him who had no business there.  No officers could come to him without the countersign.  He was at the Battle of Apache Pass, member of Jimmy's [James H. Carleton's] Jackass Battery, and if running around in the brush & chaparral barking and hunting Indians was doing good, the old Butch is entitled to no very small amount of honor.  He was wounded in that fight -- one of his toes was shot off.  He was a true soldier and had many a hard fight -- an ugly scar will bear testimony of the same.  But the poor old fellow was found in company of officers dogs (bad company) and notwithstanding all the good services in the field, he was shot like a common cur by a damned villain who now wears the badge of the rank which he disgraces. May he never get out of this country.

Thus ends the story of old Butch, a true soldier whether on the march, in camp, or in the midst of battle, he served his country, his company, and died at the hands of a villainous cur.

Now Old Butch is reunited with Company I, 4th U.S. Infantry, Company G, First California Volunteer Infantry, his mother, sisters, brothers on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, well and happy.  God always looks after his creations.


Written by Arnold Franks
Copyright © 2000 Arnold Franks

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