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.
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.
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.
|Cannon at Fort McAllister|
|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's earthen defense in 1864, a closeup.|
|Confederate Gun @ Fort McAllister 1864|
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'.
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?
|Tom Cat's Memorial Plaque|
|Major John B. Gallie, Confederate Solider, 1864|
We hope so.