Tom Cat, the Confederate Mascot

donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
Fort McAllister was part of the defensive ring protecting the Confederate city of Savannah, Georgia. It was built of earthworks, sods and mounds of mud from the nearby Ogeechee River. McAllister's cherished mascot was Tom Cat, a large black cat adored by the garrison. Tom Cat would run back and forth along the defenses during battle, dodging the hail of musket fire.

Early in 1863 the Unionists began a series of determined naval assaults on the fort. The Commander, Major John B. Gallie was decapitated. About a month later on March 3, Tom Cat's luck ran out when a stray bullet ended his life. Tom was buried with full military honors and in the official report of the action his death was communicated to General Beauregard. His loss was keenly felt by the defenders of the fort. However, they held out until the end of 1864.

Often visitors, staff and re-enactors claim they have reported seeing a black cat running along the ramparts, in some of the rooms and peering toward the river. Others say they have felt a touch of fur on their legs. All the staff and administrators insist that there are no real cats living in the park grounds. So the question is, Does Tom Cat still run in the fort?
 

Glorybound

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Photo41309o.jpg
 

jpeter

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Better question ... do you belong to Abraham cat, jpeter?

There's a man that understands cats.

But no, it's not mine. I refuse to let my wife dress up our cats.

My ornithology has been in direct contact with the feeding issues of our pets.... but that's another story.
 

RobertP

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Nov 11, 2009
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Dallas
There's a man that understands cats.

But no, it's not mine. I refuse to let my wife dress up our cats.

My ornithology has been in direct contact with the feeding issues of our pets.... but that's another story.

Since we're posting cat photos, this one is ours. Tucker at 15. He and the backyard birds get along famously now, since he mostly watches while chattering his teeth.:D
 

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jpeter

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Since we're posting cat photos, this one is ours. Tucker at 15. He and the backyard birds get along famously now, since he mostly watches while chattering his teeth.:D


Age has a way of making cats "birdwatchers".

Still, my next cat may be indoor-only.
 
Joined
Jul 21, 2011
Location
New Mexico
Thanks for posting this, Donna, love cats and cat stories, too! And thanks to Glorybound for plaque photo. Agree with others who have stated the importance of remembering and honoring the service of the animals of the war, as well as the 2-leggeds.

Once camped for a summer in national forest back country, and took my previously indoor-only cat. She did fine in the tent, and easily walked with me on a leash from the first time we tried.

The amazing thing, though, was how quickly she became a "watch cat." She woke me whenever there was a critter around that worried her, and if we were out walking, almost went on alert like a dog does. She would stop, perk her ears, and look and sniff toward wherever bothered her. The instinct of the wild cat is still there, and they're hunters and predators at heart.

My guess is that Tom Cat (or any cat) may have had that instinct come out in a war situation. In addition to being mascot and owner of "his" troops, Tom Cat might also have been a "watch cat." Would be interesting to know... [But I'm putting that question on the back burner for now, too many others to research first.]
 

diane

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Jan 23, 2010
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State of Jefferson
My brother's cat was named Pyewacket. Pye was 35lbs - somewhat hefty for bird-chasing!

My old black cat Josh used to bring me, of all things, snakes. Sometimes a salamander. Never, never a bird. (Not since he was attacked by two bluejays...)

I think I remember hearing of other cats who were wartime mascots - Misfire was one, Bilgewater another. That must have been a navy cat!
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Near Kankakee
The mascots, and there were many, must have reminded the soldiers of home.

Cats, however, were usually feral and relegated to the barn where they would prey on vermin. (Cats did not eat grain. Or poop in it.)

On the farm of my distant youth, we always had a dog. There were cats in the barn that were decidely not pets, but they kept the mice down to a tolerable population. The rats were the dog's job, as were the badgers, 'coons, and possums. And, in my experience, squirrels. We didn't eat squirrels and rabbits. The dogs subsisted on them.
 
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