At the siege of Yorktown the British had a “large bulldog” who would follow British cannonballs fired into the American lines. According to Joseph Plumb Martin “our officers wished to catch him and oblige him to carry a message from them into the town to his masters, but he looked too formidable for any of us to encounter.” Any dog who chases cannon balls clearly is not something to be approached casually.
Probably the most notorious, and certainly the most eccentric, dog owner of the period was General Charles Lee. Seemingly, wherever he went, from the battlefield to the parlor, he was accompanied by his dogs. It has been said of him, “His manners had deteriorated, although he could be the perfect gentleman when he chose; he had, in general, become slovenly about his person; and he had developed a strange passion for dogs, a train of which now followed him wherever he went.” At a party Lee ordered his dog, Spada, to mount a chair and present his paw to Abigail Adams which she shook.
Dr. Jeremy Belknap, a civilian, wrote of Lee saying he was “…a perfect original, a good scholar and soldier, and an odd genius, full of fire and passion, and but little good manners; a great sloven, wretchedly profane, and a great admirer of dogs, of which he had two at dinner with him, one of them a native of Pomerania, which I should have taken for a bear had I seen him in the woods.”
After his capture Lee wrote Washington requesting that a servant and an aide-de-camp be sent to him along with “my dogs…as I never stood in greater need of their company than at present.”
Washington is known to be fond of dogs himself. After the battle of Germantown the American troops withdrew and a dog accompanied them. The wise dog owner, had provided his dog with a collar and name tag so the dog could be returned to him if he became separated or lost. As it happened the dog did become separated but whether he was captured, deserted or defected is an unanswered question. Regardless General Washington, always the gentleman, returned the dog under a flag of truce with the note, “General Washington’s compliments to General Howe, does himself the pleasure to return him a dog, which accidentally fell into his hands, and by the inscription on the collar, appears to belong to General Howe. October 6, 1777.”
Undoubtedly, there are more dog stories from the American Revolution. Readers, please feel free to post them as comments below.
 Martin, Joseph Plumb, ed. George F. Scheer, Private Yankee Doodle, Boston, Little, Brown and Company, 1962, p. 232-233.
 Alden, John Richard, “General Charles Lee, Traitor or Patriot?,” Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 1951, p. 73, 82, 83, 169.
 http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/documents/revolution/howe.html accessed 2/28/2013.