Sunday, August 2, 2009

Deadly Gander at a Dead Gander

Given the journalistic standards of the era, I have no idea if any part of this story is true. I will attempt to confirm the burial through the VA. And my apologies for my own headline above. From The Newark Daily Advocate, February 17, 1897, page 2:


A Union Soldier’s Mascot at the Siege of Knoxville.

A 42-year-old gander belonging to William Moore of Cocke county, Tenn., has just died. It was with Burnside’s troops during the war and used as mascot at the time of the siege of Knoxville. The death of the gander was not unexpected by the ex-Federal soldiers, and arrangements have been made to bury its remains in the national cemetery.

When the dead fowl arrived at the depot, Burton McIntyre, a colored servant, was with the soldiers who claimed the fowl as it put in its appearance at the depot upon the arrival of the train. When the box containing the fowl was taken from the car, he played on his violin “Marching Through Georgia.” When McIntyre saw the lifeless gander, he dropped dead.

Update on the story
The staff for the National Cemetery in Chattanooga, which administers the cemetery in Knoxville as well, was unable to confirm that a gander or any other animal was buried in the national cemetery. Current rules would, of course, prevent such a burial today, but the person I contacted said anything was possible in 1897 and they would have no way of knowing. I sent a copy of this article to them for their own reference. The validity of the story remains unknown.

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