The Brave Little Gophur of Pea Ridge

John Hartwell

Forum Host
Aug 27, 2011
Central Massachusetts

The Kalamazoo Gazette of September 19, 1862, had a number of vignettes about Pea Ridge and Wilson's Creek, including the following rather flowery report. It tells of an unnamed gophur, friend of an unnamed lieutenant, of an unnamed regiment in an unnamed brigade of Gen. Jefferson Davis Division.​

On the first day of the battle, when the --d Brigade of Den. Davis’ Division marched from Leesburg, and filed right, into the bushes, they were brought into close quarters with the vast foe. Crashing through the leaves, cutting off twigs in their progress and dealing death in the ranks of the beloved Brigade, came the volleys of the enemy. Nothing could be seen through the dense undergrowth, but fiercely, yet more fiercely, the battle raged.

The savage McCullock, and the wily McIntosh had already fallen, and on the Federal side many a brave man had closed his ears to mortal sounds, but still sat a gophur on the shoulder of one of the line officers. Balls would pass near him and make him wink, yet still he sat there, as though perfectly confident of the ability of his master to protect him. But a ball, striking the officer in the shoulder blade threw the little animal to the ground. When the poor Lieutenant was carried to the hospital, the gophur was taken from his pocket, where he had hid in his terror.

He remains a regimental pet.
I have to admit to a little bit of skepticism regarding this story -- just too much anonymity. And, the image of the heroic little critter posed fiercely on the brave lieutenant's shoulder amidst the shot and shell of the battlefield, is a little too 'cute' -- Disney animators could probably do it justice (think of him holding a tiny flagstaff, with a tiny stars and stripes flapping in the wind!)