Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sallie...the ultimate mascot

It was the summer of 1986 and my parents took me to Gettysburg to learn more about the battle that I had come to love and study. During our trip we took the audio cassette tape tour of the battlefield. My readers may or may not know this but at the battlefield you can tour the battlefield by car and listen to a documentary like description of the battle and the monuments that occupy the grounds.

I remember listing to narrator Peter Thomas has he described one of the most famous military mascots in history named "Sallie". Sallie was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and was the offical mascot for the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Given to one of the officers as a four-week old puppy, Sallie grew up among the soldiers learned their tendencies and they all became her master. She provided inspiration, comfort to the men and a unconditional bond of love was quickly formed.

Sallie followed the men on marches and to the battlefields on which they fought. Her most famous display of devotion was after the first days battle at Gettysburg in which the 11th was engaged in a fierce struggle with Richard Ewell's Confederates. As the 11th was pushed off of Oak Ridge, Sallie became seperated from the unit and like all dogs returned to the place from which was recently familier atop Oak Ridge. Around her the dead and dying of both sides littered the grassy hill and it was here that she stayed for the rest of the battle. Sallie licked the wounds of the injured and watched over lifeless bodies of the 11th.

After the Confederate retreat she was found and returned to her regiment after enduring several days without food or water. Her devotion and love were never forgotten by the men who served with her and after the war they dedicated part of their regiments monument to her along with a marvelous statue of her.

Even though Sallie survived the fierce struggle at Gettysburg she would not survive the war. During Grants Overland Campaign (May 1864) she was shot in the neck but survived with just a scar. Legend has it that upon returning to duty she tore the pants off of a 11th soldier who tried to run away from combat.

At the battle of Hatchers Run, Sallie was killed when a bullet struck her head. This event occured on Feb. 6, 1865 just two months and three days before Lee's surrender. Sallie was a true hero and make sure that you visit her monument at Gettysburg. Today many tourists place milkbones on her life-sized statue. I loved visiting this monument in 1986 and again in 1989 when I returned to Gettysburg with my dad on a father-son vacation.

"Sallie," a brindle Staffordshire Bull Terrier, was the regimental mascot for the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Given to 1st Lt. William R. Terry as a four-week old puppy, Sallie grew up among the men of the regiment. Sallie followed the men on marches and to the battlefield. At the Battle of Gettysburg, the dog got separated rom he unit. Unable to find her way, Sallie returned to the Union battle line at Oak Ridge, where she stood guard over the dead and wounded.

The dog continued her faithful service through February, 1865, when she was struck by a bullet to her head in the battle of Hatcher's Run, Virginia. One solder of the 11th wrote, “Poor Sallie fell in the front line in the fight…a bullet pierced her brain. She was buried where she fell, by some of the boys, even whilst under a murderous fire.” For her devotion to the men, Sallie is memorialized at the 11th Pennsylvania monument erected at Gettysburg in 1890. Just make sure that when you find the 11th's monument that you park, get out of your car and walk around to the other side of the monument's base. There you will find the statue of Sallie.

Some of Sallie and the 11th's battles were:

Battle of Fallen Waters (versus Stonewall Jackson) 1861
Second Bull Run (1862)
Antietam (1862)
Fredricksburg (1862)
Gettysburg (1863)
Spotstlyvania (1864)
Hatchers Run (1865)

Photos are credited to Pennsylvania State Archives and to Mr. R.G.

More infomation at:



A short history of the 11th can be found here:


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