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The Little Hero of Gettysburg


There is a story behind each and every monument at Gettysburg National Military Park. One of the most compelling involves the monument to the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment and its faithful dog, Sallie.

The 11th Pennsylvania received Sallie when she was just a puppy. Their loyal companion took part in all of their battles, taking position at the end of the firing line and barking her fury at the enemy. On July 1, 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg began, and it quickly spiraled out of control. As Union forces were pushed back and forced to retreat through the town, Sallie got separated from her regiment. After the battle, the men of the 11th returned to the scene of the first day’s fighting and found Sallie. She was weak, but alive. Most incredibly, Sallie had stayed behind with the dead and wounded of the regiment. She faithfully guarded them through the chaos until help finally arrived.

A sculpture of Sallie at the base of the 11th Pennsylvania monument at Gettysburg.

After Gettysburg, Sallie continued with the 11th Pennsylvania. Loyal until the end, she was sadly killed in action at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run in 1865. Despite heavy enemy fire, several soldiers buried her where she fell on the battlefield.

Sallie’s memory did not fade away with the passing of time. When the 11th Pennsylvania monument was designed, the regiment’s survivors unanimously decided to include a tribute to their faithful companion. A bronze likeness of Sallie can be found at the base of the monument to the 11th at Gettysburg. Just like she did many years ago, Sallie still watches over her regiment. Her spirit will always be a part of the hallowed ground at Gettysburg.

Sources

civil war.vt.edu: The Little Mascot.

gettysburg.stonesentinels.com: Monument to the 11th Pennsylvania at Gettysburg.

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