Civil War Mascots & Horses

June 2006


Sallie, Old Abe, and Cincinnati served in the American Civil War. Sallie the dog, Old Abe the eagle, and Cincinnati the horse were just three of a multitude of mascots and warhorses that marched, camped, and fought with their fellow soldiers. Dogs, pigs, birds, raccoons, bears, a gamecock, a sheep, and a camel were among the documented mascots.


Sallie, a brindle bull terrier, was a puppy when she was brought to the training grounds of the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. Sallie participated in battles right alongside her fellow soldiers.  She would bark ferociously while lining up during battle. Sallie was lost at Gettysburg, until found days later, guarding the wounded and dead of her regiment. Sallie survived almost until war’s end, but was shot and died at Hatcher's Run, Virginia. Her regiment buried her where she fell, doing so while under fire. The 11th Pennsylvania monument at Gettysburg includes Sallie, lying near the base of the statue. For a close-up of Sallie, see


The 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry was given an eagle during training in 1861. The eagle, named Old Abe, would swoop down toward the enemy in the heat of battle. Old Abe was present at 36 battles, encouraging his regiment with his loud cries. He also entertained the soldiers at camp with his avian antics. After the war, Abe was presented to the governor of the state of Wisconsin. Thousands came to visit Old Abe at his new home in the Capitol. Abe became an honored guest at many official functions including the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Pictures of Old Abe were sold at large-scale fairs to help raise funds for soldier relief. The famous eagle help raise tens of thousands of dollars at these events. Old Abe died at age 20 in 1881 after a fire broke out at the Capitol near his cage. Old Abe’s body was stuffed and mounted and displayed until 1904 when the Capitol was destroyed by fire.


There are many remarkable Civil War horse stories. One well-known story is that of Egypt, Jeff Davis, and Cincinnati, warhorses of Ulysses S. Grant. The beautiful Egypt, named after the southern region of Illinois where he was found, was presented to Grant 1864. Almost a year earlier, the pony Jeff Davis was captured during the siege of Vicksburg from a plantation owned by Jefferson Davis’ brother. Grant enjoyed the pleasant gait of the animal, so purchased it for his own. Cincinnati was Grant’s strong, swift, battle horse.  Grant spoke of Cincinnati as the “finest horse that he had ever seen.” Grant allowed Abraham Lincoln to ride Cincinnati during Lincoln’s visit to City Point, Virginia, in 1865.


This snippet is just a taste of the wide array of fascinating and oftentimes poignant tales of Civil War mascots and warhorses.