Nellie, General Robert E. Lee’s Pet Chicken

Nellie, General Robert E. Lee’s Pet Chicken

Did you know …

During the Civil War, a little black hen looked for a place to lay her egg and wandered into the tent of the famous Confederate (southern) General Robert E. Lee.

Lee adopts the hen as a pet.

Since General Lee liked to eat fresh eggs for breakfast, he decided to keep the hen as a pet and named her Nellie.

Nellie sometimes slept in General Lee’s tent.

Nellie provided an egg for General Lee’s breakfast nearly every day. The hen sometimes slept in Lee’s tent. He left the tent flap open for her.

The little hen wanders off after the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Battle of Gettysburg was a huge battle that lasted from July first until July third in 1863. After the fighting ended, the Confederate Army planned to leave Gettysburg. When General Lee looked for Nellie, the little hen was nowhere to be found.

The soldiers searched for Nellie and Lee even helped look for her.

Nellie found in an ambulance  

During the Civil War, ambulances were horse-drawn wagons. Usually the ambulances had four sides. Sometimes the sides were made of canvas. The canvas type walls didn’t give much protection from the rain and cold weather.

Nellie was found in an ambulance. She had made a nest inside the wagon.

The little hen traveled with General Lee about two years.

– Sandra Merville Hart

Sources “Animal Mascots of the Civil War,” Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site, 2014/11/10

“Gettysburg: An animal-lover’s tour of the battlefield,” Evening Sun, 2014/11/10

“Robert E. Lee’s Slave,” Son of the South, 2014/11/10

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