The most famous canine mascot of the American Civil War earned her renown in large part because of her actions during the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. The only actual war dog to be honored with a statue on a Civil War battlefield, Sallie Ann Jarrett of the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry has become a beloved symbol of loyalty.
In a post-war memoir, the 11th Pennsylvania’s commanding officer, Colonel Richard Coulter, predicted that Sallie’s story would be passed down through generations. And he was right. Authors have told her story repeatedly over the 155 years since the war ended.
(See three 20th century renditions here.)
But as the person who knew Sallie best, Col. Coulter wrote with special feeling of the unbreakable bond of affection and trust between the soldiers and their dog. And his words reflect the keen sense of loss he and his men felt when the dog who had accompanied them from the first days of their military service was killed in action shortly before the war ended.
Today, still, Col. Coulter’s words will resonate with anyone who has ever loved a special dog.
Below is his account from the 1875 edition of Samuel P. Bates’s “Martial Deeds of Pennsylvania.” (The book is available on-line courtesy of the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/martialdeedsofpe01bate/page/n1). Sallie’s story begins on page 1098.