Famous American Civil War Horses
Horses played a crucial role in the American Civil War, especially for the generals. Generals rode horses to get a higher view of the battlefield than the men on foot to direct the troop movement. Their lives depended on the abilities of their four-legged companions to behave in a controlled matter under the terrible circumstances that they were exposed to. In the early part of the war, more horses than men were killed. A lot of horses were used during the civil war that so many of them were killed in some battles the soldiers had to burn many of them since they could not bury them. By the end of the war more than 1,000,000 horses were killed along with their riders during the war, however there were a few that stood out with well-known riders such as Grant, Lee, Sherman and many more. I will only go into detail on a few of the generals.
The Horses of General Robert E. Lee
General Robert E. Lee, one of the most popular generals in the war, had several horses. These horses were Lucy Long, Richmond, Brown-Roan,Ajax and Traveller. The first four horses were used briefly during the Civil War. Traveller was purchased for $200 from Joseph M. Boun in February of 1862 after Lee was transferred to South Carolina. His original name was“Jeff Davis”and Lee renamed him “Traveller”. Traveller would eventually become the horse Lee will use during most of the war because Traveller was a horse of good stamina and was very difficult to frighten.
After the war, Traveller became very popular when Lee became president of Washington College (later Washington and Lee College) located in Lexington, Virginia. It is here where Traveller will lose most of his tail hair from veterans and students constantly pulling it out. They wanted it for asouvenir because he was the horse of a famous general. In the summer of 1871,Traveller stepped on a nail and developed tetanus (or Lockjaw). He was euthanized and buried on the campus of Washington College. His bones were unearthed and moved several times. They were displayed in several locations,namely Rochester, New York (1875-75), Brooks Museum (Robinson Hall) and in 1929 they were placed in the basement of Lee Chapel. The bones stayed there for 30 years. The bones were finally placed in it present resting place in 1971 in a wooden box encased in concrete next to the Lee Chapel on the campus of Washington and Lee College where Lee’s family crypt is located.
The Horses of General Stonewall Jackson
General Stonewall Jackson rode a horse named “Little Sorrel” during the Civil War up to the point when he was shot at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. He originally brought the horse as a gift for his wife and the horse was named “Fancy”. After the war, “Little Sorrel” was return to Mrs. Jackson and later sent to Virginia Military Institute (VMI) also located in Lexington, Virginia. Little Sorrel died at the age 36 in March 1886. Today you can see his mounted hide in the VMI Museum. His cremated bones are buried on the grounds of VMI.
The Horses of General William T. Sherman
General William T. Sherman rode four horses during the war. Their names were Duke, Dolly, Sam, and Lexington. Even though Duke was Sherman favorite, he rode Sam in the famous “March To the Sea” and Dolly was captured when Confederates raided Sherman’s train at the “Battle of Collierville” on October 11, 1863.
The Horses of General Ulysses S. Grant
General Ulysses S. Grant had seven horses to ride. The name of the horses were Jack, Kangaroo, Cincinnati, Fox, Jeff Davis, Rondy, and Methuselah. Cincinnati was the son of a famous racehorse. He was the son of Lexington, the fastest four-mile thoroughbred in the United States with a time of 7 minutes, 19.45 seconds. Cincinnati was Grant’s favorite horse and was ridden into Appomattox to negotiate Lee’s surrender. This is the horse depicted in all the drawings, paintings, and statures of Ulysses Grant sitting on. You can see one of these statures in Washington, D.C. located at the base of Capitol Hill.
The Horses of Other Generals
Some generals had horses in the war with names that sounded like our present day racehorse names. For example, Grand Old Canister, Handsome Joe and My Maryland were horses that were ridden by Union Generals Daniel Sickles and John Sedgwick, and Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart respectively. J.E.B. Stuart was one of the few generals who lost all his horses during the war. As the expression goes all his horses were "shot from under him". He lost his horses also because he was the commander a calvary.
Below is a short list of some of the other officers with the names of their horses. There are many more.
List of Other Officers with the name of their horses
Alpheus S. Williams
Edward Porter Alexander
George Armstrong Custer
Richard S. Ewell
David McMurtie Gregg
Isaac R. Trimble
Walter H. Taylor
Click on link to See More Horses
© 2010 Melvin Porter
More by this Author
A look at Lincoln's family through significant photos taken by the Alexander Garder and Mathew Brady throughput his life from his pre-president days to surviving sons after his death.
Police officers and soldiers routinely use bulletproof vests today as added protection while on duty. This life saving garment has been around since the dawn of war. Believe it or not it was even used during the...
How big was the Titanic? In its day it was one of the largest ship ever built. But when compared to modern ships it was not too far off in size until the largest ship Oasis of the Seas came on the scene about 100 years...