Unusual Pets of famous Civil War Figures

matthew mckeon

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Lee's beloved Traveler is well known, as well as "Tad" Lincoln's pet goat. But several well known Civil War leaders had often exotic pets.

Benjamin Butler owned a English bull dog named Bee-Bee, that was said to resemble the general closely. William Rosecrans owned an Irish setter named Clancy, with whom Rosecrans would sometimes carry on extended, if one sided conversations. Clara Barton owned pairs of cats, including two tabbies* she had trained to fetch her smaller first aid bag. Braxton Bragg had a pet reptile,that drank from a bowl of milk, commonly said to be a rattlesnake, but was probably a simple garter snake. Charles Sumner had a parakeet, and George McClellan had a parrot that squawked "reinforcements!" at least through the Maryland campaign, although the parrot's cry is generally considered to be a rumor made up by Edwin Stanton. Maybe the most unique was Stonewall Jackson's series of antfarms, which he studied with intense focus for hours, often muttering "perfect, perfect" to himself.

*Yum Yum and Ragamuffin("Rags")
 

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DBF

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Lee's "pet" chicken that rode in a crate on a headquarters wagon, slept under his bed, and supposedly laid him an egg every day for breakfast is well-known but I unfortunately don't remember whether or not she had a name.
I thought her name was Nellie, but she was also called "Dinner" (one evening).:smile: Trivia question last month - Lee had a pet rattlesnake at one point.
 

luinrina

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I unfortunately don't remember whether or not she had a name.
Her name was Nellie. :smile:

George McClellan had a parrot that squawked "reinforcements!"
:rofl:

Maybe the most unique was Stonewall Jackson's series of antfarms, which he studied with intense focus for hours, often muttering "perfect, perfect" to himself.
:O o: That is news to me. Not one word of antfarms was mentioned in Robertson's bio on Stonewall Jackson. Or are you playing April's Fools with us?
 

matthew mckeon

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Seriously, Gen. Sheridan had a pet ferret he doted on. Ely Parker snarked that a ferret was "utterly the most fitting pet for a man of the General's character." Sadly Grant had the ferret, named "Colonel" banished from his presence claiming it gave him the "heebie jeebies." Gen. Custer attempted to tame a falcon to ride on his arm, to add to the cavalryman's panache, but the bird repeatedly soiled the boy general's uniform, and Custer gave up the affectation.
 

General Casey

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I was doing some research on Butler for a biography I'm planning on writing. Supposedly Lowell, Massachusetts had passed an ordinance requiring dogs to be muzzled while outside. Butler was spotted walking his dog for several days by s policeman who politely reminded the former General of the law. This went on for several days with the policeman reminding Butler and Butler telling the officer he would remember to muzzle his dog. Finally the officer spotted Butler again the following week and went over to write a summons to appear to Butler.

When told why, Butler replied that he had read the ordinance and that it did require all dogs to be muzzled when in public, but it did not state where the muzzle should be worn. He then pointed to the dogs hind legs, where Butler had strapped a muzzle to the dog.
 


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