Bloodhounds Research Paper

1586 Words 7 Pages
On Monday, May 22, 1865, a small band of soldiers from the 22nd and 28th Iowa regiments left their camp. The night before, there had been a heavy rainstorm. Their destination was a large peach orchard not far from the rows of white canvas. In previous visits to the orchard, soldiers had discovered a kennel of “bloodhounds,” ferocious animals trained for the pursuit of enslaved people and believed by the soldiers to have been used in the apprehension of Union soldiers who escaped from Confederate prison camps. A man named Butler, the owner of the orchard, had threatened peach-seeking soldiers with the dogs. The 22nd, 28th Iowa regiments had been encamped on Shultzer’s Hill with another Iowa regiment, the 24th, since May 19. This high ground …show more content…
As one Illinois soldier later remembered, his regiment received an order “to kill all bloodhounds and other valuable dogs in the country.” This policy prevented their future use by Confederate forces and decreased the household wealth of Southern homes. Union soldiers also presented the killing of dogs as acts of retributive justice involving the newly freed people Iowa newspaper later in the same year: “Some of our men escorted by niggers and prisoners paid a visit to…a second Legree, who kept a pack of bloodhounds…the boys disposed of the dogs as they have done with all the bloodhounds they came across, burned down his house and place, and tied himself to a tree and got some strapping niggers to flog, which they did with a will, repaying in the lex talionis style.”. No formerly enslaved person is mentioned in any of the accounts of the killing of Butler’s bloodhounds as encouraging the …show more content…
More than two decades ago, Robert Darnton’s groundbreaking historical work, The Great Cat Massacre, found in its eponymous essay that an act of violence against animals can be intended to serve as a social statement. Like the killings of cats committed by eighteenth century Parisian printing apprentices, the slaughter of Butler’s bloodhounds can best be understood by first understanding the perpetuators’ perspectives on the society in which the act was

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