Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Update on Sallie the dog

On my last post I talked about Sallie the mascot that is on one of the monuments at Gettysburg. One of my readers asked me where it was at on the battlefield and I went in search of the area so I could tell her. In doing so I found this photo and article so I wanted to add it to the blog post

The Loyal Mascot

The 11th Pennsylvania Infantry's loyal mascot.

One of the most symbolic monuments on Oak Ridge is that to the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry, upon which stands the full-size bronze likeness of a Union soldier overlooking the fields where Iverson's North Carolinians made their fateful charge. This monument has a unique addition at its base, a bronze statuette of of a small, mixed breed dog named "Sallie", a stray that one day wandered into the camp of the 11th Pennsylvania and became attached to one of the regiment's soldiers. Her appearance in the ranks while on dress parade or during the march was a curious site to many, though it was not uncommon for soldiers to informally "adopt" a pet of some sort, and the men in the rank and file evidently enjoyed Sallie's companionship. Sallie made the long trek from Virginia to Pennsylvania in the summer of 1863 and went into the fighting on July 1st alongside her human comrade. When the Union line collapsed that afternoon, survivors of the 11th Pennsylvania staggered through Gettysburg to Cemetery Hill, where they reformed and counted their losses. Among the missing was the small dog, lost in the confusion of battle or during the retreat. Late on July 5th, a burial detail from the regiment made their way back to the scene where the regiment fought on Oak Ridge. Here they discovered Sallie lying among the corpses of the regiment which had adopted her. Very much alive and loyal to a fault, she had remained with her fallen master. Sallie was taken by the detail back to the regiment and informally adopted by the men as the regiment's mascot. Sallie remained with her regiment, sharing in the dangers and duties that her masters faced until she was killed at the Battle of Hatcher's Run, Virginia, in 1864.

When the veterans of the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry erected their monument at Gettysburg in 1890, they chose to add the likeness of the homely little dog that brought happiness to their lives as soldiers, for she was the most humble symbol of loyalty they had experienced during the war.


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Blogger MuseSwings said...

Sallie the dog was a brave soldier! Thanks for the story.

April 22, 2009 at 12:41 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

I bet Sallie, homely or not, was a real favorite and brought smiles to the faces of a lot of those brave fighting men who, sometimes, probably didn't feel so brave and wanted nothing more than to scratch Sallie behind the ears and think of home.

The monument is a fitting tribute to one of man's very best friends - thanks for sharing the longer story!

April 23, 2009 at 1:01 AM  

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