Monday, May 27, 2013


Sallie joined up at a very young age.  She was only four weeks old when she was given as a gift to 1st Lieutenant William R. Terry of the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.  She grew up among the soldiers, and they were happy to have a puppy around to take their minds off being homesick and scared.  Sallie was a brindle bull terrier, and she was named after a beautiful girl who lived near the camp.

The only known photo of Sallie,
from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
People said that Sallie only hated three things:  Rebels, Democrats, and Women.  I don't know if this is true or not.  I am just reporting what I read.  Anyway, even though Sallie loved all the men in her unit, she definitely did not like soldiers or civilians she did not know.

When Sallie heard reveille every morning, she was the first to get up and go for roll-call.  Every time there was a dress parade, Sallie pranced along beside the regiment's flag bearer.  When the unit camped out, she slept by the captain's tent.  And when her soldiers went on marches or into battle, Sallie always followed right along.

Some reenactors trying to load their muskets
The 11th Pennsylvania was first formed as a 3-month regiment of recruits from several counties on April 26, 1861.  Later on, the enlistment period was changed to 3 years.  At the Battle of Falling Waters, Virginia, on July 2, 1861, the group earned the nickname of "The Bloody Eleventh."  When their 3-year enlistment was up in January 1864, a lot of the men reenlisted, and after that the unit was called the "veteran volunteers."  The 11th Infantry was also special because they were the oldest unit in continuous service from Pennsylvania.

Here are the major battles the regiment fought in:  Second Battle of Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Siege of Petersburg, and the Appomatox Campaign.  Sallie's first battle was in 1862 at Cedar Mountain.  What she liked to do was position herself at the end of the firing line and bark furiously at the enemy.  If the troops were advancing, she went along beside the color bearer.

11th Penn.V.I. Monument,
Gettysburg, PA, USA
Photo by:  RFM57
During the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the 11th Pennsylvania was driven back almost a mile from their original position on Oak Ridge.  Sallie got separated from the unit, and didn't know how to find them.  Finally she lay down with the dead and dying soldiers and guarded them until the Union troops took the field back again.  When her unit found her several days later, she was very weak, but she was still alive.

Sadly, in February 1865, at the Battle of Hatcher's Run, Virginia, Sallie was killed by a bullet that hit
her in the head.  Some of the men from her unit stopped to bury her with military honors, even though they were under heavy fire from the Confederates.

The unit mustered out on July 1, 1865.  A total of 1,890 men served in the regiment during the war, but only 340 came home at the end of it.  Later on, when a monument was built at Gettysburg to honor the 11th Pennsylvania, the veterans insisted that Sallie be included.  The monument is located on Oak Ridge, where the right flank of the First Corps was positioned on July 1, 1863, and where Sallie later stood watch over the wounded and dead.

When there was a reunion of the veterans of the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, the men posed for a photo near the  monument, and they made sure they left a space so that Sallie could be seen in the background.

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