The 13-foot-tall granite and bronze monument stands on Oak Ridge at the Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It is close to the site of the right flank of the First Corps on July 1, 1863. A bronze statue of a Union soldier stands atop the monument, facing in the direction of the advancing enemy. On the front of the monument, near its base, is a granite ledge holding the bronze likeness of a small dog, her head resting on her front paws and her gaze directed over the battlefield. Pats from many loving hands have burnished the top of her head. Engraved beneath her resting place is “11th Pennsylvania Infantry.” Sallie is one of only two dogs depicted at Gettysburg, and the only one to have seen combat.
In May 1861, while drilling in West Chester, the newly formed 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was gifted with a four-week-old American Staffordshire Terrier puppy. Enchanted by the little brindle-coated dog, the men immediately proclaimed her their mascot. They named her Sallie Ann Jarrett after their commanding officer, Colonel Phaon Jarrett, and Sallie Ann, a local beauty. The puppy quickly joined regimental life and became the darling of every soldier.
Sallie attended roll call each morning and accompanied the soldiers during drills. In parades, she walked with the regimental colors. When the regiment marched, Sallie was always at the front of the line beside Colonel Richard Coulter’s horse. Twice she paraded with her regiment in review before President Abraham Lincoln. Legend has it that the President once tipped his hat to her. For the next four years, Sallie accompanied the 11th Pennsylvania into every one of their battles. Fearless and not content to stay behind battle lines, she always advanced at the front while barking ferociously at the enemy. Sallie saw action at some of the bloodiest engagements of the Civil War, including Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg.
On the first day of fighting at Gettysburg in July 1863, Sallie was separated from the regiment and feared dead. Three days later, she was found on Oak Ridge, the site of the 11th’s original battle position. Weak but alive, Sallie was guarding the regiment’s wounded and dead. In May 1864, Sallie was herself wounded during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. A bullet remained lodged in her neck for several months before it worked itself out and left a prominent scar.
Sallie soldiered on beside the 11th Pennsylvania until a few weeks before the end of the war. Tragically, on February 6, 1865, during the Union advance at Hatcher’s Run, she was struck by a bullet and killed instantly. Although under intense enemy fire, several of the regiment’s soldiers immediately dropped their weapons to bury their beloved canine comrade where she fell.
When the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Monument was being designed for placement at Gettysburg, the regiment’s survivors voted unanimously to include a memorial to their tiniest comrade. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania dedicated the monument on September 3, 1889. The last surviving veterans of the regiment posed for a group photograph at the monument on September 28, 1910. Three of them stood prominently apart from the group, creating a gap, so that the likeness of a small dog would be included in the picture.
Know Before You Go
The monument to the 11th Pennsylvania is northwest of Gettysburg on the west side of Doubleday Avenue, south of Mummasburg Road.