Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Tribute to Cats Who Served During Wars Part 2

I wanted to share this story separately because its so sad and I do have a few pictures to go along with it that are amazing.
Cannon at Fort McAllister
Cannon at Fort McAllister
Tom Cat was a Confederate mascot during the American Civil War of the 1860's. Fort McAllister was an important part of a defensive ring that protected the Confederate city of Savannah, Georgia. Built of earthwork fortifications, sods and mounds of mud from Ogeechee river, the men who defended her lived inside of these mods, underground in bunkers. The thick earth and moss covered walls were inordinately efficient at absorbing cannonballs the Unionists launched at them. As a consequence, the fort held out far longer than did its more modern sister Fort Pulaski, which was taken by Union forces in 1862. 
Fort McAllister, Confederate City of Savannah, Georgia
Fort McAllister, Confederate City of Savannah, Georgia in 1862  This is where Tom Cat would run when the battle raged; in, around and through these same mounds.

Fort McAllister, Earthen Defense 1864
Fort McAllister's earthen defense in 1864, a closeup.
Confederate Gun at Fort McAllister, 1864
Confederate Gun @ Fort McAllister 1864
Tom Cat was a big black cat who was cherished by the entire garrison. He would dash headlong on the defenses during an assault, successfully evading the hail of musket fire and cannonballs as they flew overhead. Pictured are the defenses Tom Cat tore across.

Tragically, on March 3rd 1863, Tom Cat took a stray bullet that ended his life during a series of tenacious naval assaults on the Fort by Union forces. After the decapitation of the Fort's Commander, Major John B. Gallie during the second attack, it was found that Tom Cat was the only Confederate casualty accounted for during the whole seven hours of bitter onslaught. He was laid to rest with full military honors. In the official report his death was disclosed to General Beauregard; the loss of Tom Cat was violently felt by the defenders but, honoring Tom Cat's memory, they held the fort til close to the end of 1864, after which Fort McAllister fell to the land forces lead by General Sherman as the final obstacle in his 'March to the Sea'. 

Tom Cat Memorial Plaque 1860's
Tom Cat's Memorial Plaque
Today no cats live in the park grounds of Fort McAllister. Purchased by Henry Ford in the 1930's and opening to the public as a historical park after considerable restoration, workers have consistently refused to spend the night because of bizarre and unrecognizable noises. Visitors, staff and those who role play the battles of the 1860's have told of seeing a black cat bolting along the ramparts. Tom Cat has been seen in some of the rooms and gazing out towards the Ogeechee. There are those who have felt Tom Cat as a furry, arched back that rubbed against their legs. In the 1960's, approximately 150 years after his passing from this world, visitors and groundsmen reported observing what looked to them like a headless body in full Civil War-era officer's uniform striding the bulwarks. Is it Major Gallie and Tom Cat continuing to mount a watch at the Fort they safeguarded nearly 150 years ago?

Major John B. Gallie Confederate, 1864
Major John B. Gallie, Confederate Solider, 1864

We hope so.



  1. As a movie producer amongst many other things I can honestly say I would not be surprised if I soon produce a cat movie to display some of these awesome yet little known cat qualities for the entire world to discover and appreciate.

    Your friend,
    Sir Richard Lee Morris

  2. I thank you for such a kind comment, Sir Richard Lee Morris. If such a movie were ever to be made, it would have a huge audience! Not enough is known about these cats who served and sometimes lost their lives along side us.


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