For generations, Gettysburg visitors who have traced the first day’s fighting along Oak Ridge have been surprised to find the bronze figure of a dog lying at the base of the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry monument. Facing away from Doubleday Avenue and looking across the battlefield where the regiment fought on July 1, 1863, the dog is at rest but vigilant. Who was this dog? And why would a dog be given this costly tribute?
For the soldiers of the Old 11th, the dog’s statue needed no inscription. She was Sallie Ann Jarrett, affectionately known as Sallie. For four years—nearly the duration of the war—she was their mascot and faithful companion. She shared their hardships and helped raise their spirits at the bleakest of times. To the regiment’s soldiers who lay wounded after the first day’s fighting at Gettysburg, Sallie was their faithful protector, refusing to leave them behind when Confederates routed the Union forces. The soldiers never forgot her loyalty and bravery. When the time came for a monument to remember their own struggles and recognize the sacrifices of their comrades at Gettysburg, they accorded Sallie, too, a place of honor.
For more about the enduring bonds of loyalty and trust shared by the soldiers and their faithful dogs, read “A Tribute to the Dogs of the American Civil War.”