The 11th PA monument is one of several standing in a long line along Oak Ridge, not far from the Peace Light at Gettysburg. From the road, it looks like a typical monument with a bronze soldier standing upon a pedestal. The soldier faces away from the road, looking for all time in the direction Confederates attacked the unit on July 1, 1863. Many visitors would glance and drive right by.
Those who know the secret to this monument though never fail to pull over, get out, and take a closer look. What faces the road is in fact the back of the monument and if you walk around to the other side you will find a smaller bronze figure, that of a small dog. Her name is Sallie and the monument is dedicated as much to her as to the other “heroic dead” of the 11th Pennsylvania. Sallie was the companion and mascot for the regiment through the entire war. According to the story Sallie only hated three things, “Rebels, Democrats, and Women,” so she fit right in as one of the soldiers.
At Gettysburg, the 11th Pennsylvania was attacked on Oak Ridge and had to fall back as part of the retreat through the town on the first day of fighting. During the scramble Sallie became separated from the regiment. Not knowing where they were she returned to the last place she knew: their battle line. There she lay amid her dead and dying friends until the battle was over and she was found and returned to her unit.
She continued on with the 11th PA until she was shot through the head and killed during the Battle of Hatcher’s Run on February 6, 1865. The men loved her so much that they stopped to bury her on the field despite the ongoing battle. When the time came to raise a monument to their accomplishments and their dead comrades, they wanted to remember their friend, pet, and comrade who had faced war with them. Those who drive past the monument miss the endearing story of this little dog, but it is special to those who know about it. It is tradition to bring small gifts to place by Sallie, and it is very rare that I visit the monument and there isn’t a dog biscuit or some dog food, a penny, or even flowers (you can see a penny and the flag in this picture). Stop by and pay her a visit next time you visit the battlefield.