The Path of Dogs is divided into three Issues (chapters). The first is "Chickasaw County’s Spartan Band" which can be summarized as follows:
With Captain Michaels and Lima Company cut off, casualties mounting, and communications down, Val and Private Will Brannigan volunteer to attempt to slip through enemy lines and get to Battalion. But, once again, the Seam shifts and shudders and Fallujah gives way to Fredericksburg, Maryland, on the chilly morning of December 11, 1862. Little does Val know that Will has his own reasons for wanting to get away from the rest of his unit. Be that as it may, the full weight of the Federal artillery is about to rain hellfire on the quiet town and what follows promises to be ugly and brutal…
As with each of the stories in the Path of Souls/Path of Dogs, we are introduced to a fictional character who is inserted into a very real historical context.
In this case, we meet Will Brannigan, a sixteen year old Confederate soldier from Chickasaw County, Mississippi. Like most of the able-bodied men of his region, Will volunteered for the local militia at the outset of the War Between the States, on March 23, 1861, at Sparta, Mississippi (in Chickasaw County). His county’s unit was initially dubbed, The Spartan Band. In May 1861, the Spartans arrived in Corinth, Mississippi, where they were given the designation Company K and, along with other regional units, were formed into the 13th Mississippi Infantry.
The 13th Mississippi saw action at the 1st Battle of Manassas/Bull Run (July 21, 1861) and Leesburg (October 21-22, 1861) and at other battlefields such as Savage Station (June 29, 1862), Malvern Hill (July 1, 1862), and Sharpsburg/Antietam (September 17, 1862).
Eventually, it found itself in Fredericksburg on the morning of December 11, 1862. It was part of Brigadier General William Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade (which included the 13th, 17th, 18th and 21st Mississippi infantry regiments). The 13th was tasked with resisting the Federal crossing of the Rappahannock and helping to defend Fredericksburg itself.
Of course, the story isn’t really about the macrocosm of the Battle of Fredericksburg or the larger context of the American Civil War. It is a story about friendship, the kind that has deep roots extending into our childhood. It’s about what we hold dear and who we regard as family. It’s also about loyalty to that family, a loyalty that transcends life and death.
The story is written by Roberto Xavier Molinari and represents his first solo effort. The artwork (pencils, inks and colors) is brilliantly rendered by Kyle Huston.