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Traveller-The Mount of the Great General Robert E. Lee

Updated on July 31, 2018
The famous General Robert E. Lee and his favorite mount Traveller.
The famous General Robert E. Lee and his favorite mount Traveller. | Source

Traveller's Early Years

Traveller, originally named Greenbriar after the county he was born in, was a gray American Saddlebred gelding. He was raised in Sulphur Springs ( at the time WV, now VA ). He caught eyes at an early age. WInning 1st price at fairs in both 1859 and 1860.

Before General Lee gained notoriety he was working under Captain Joseph Brown commanding a small force in Virginia. Captain Brown purchased the horse that became General Lee's famous war horse, for $175 and named him Greenbriar after the county he was born in.

General Lee loved the look of the horse and told everyone that he would use him as his own mount before the war was over. He referred to him as " his colt".

Traveller the War Horse


When Lee was transferred to South Carolina, in 1868, he bought Greenbriar for $200. He renamed him Traveller, spelled in the British way with two 'L''s.

Normally Traveller was a brave and courageous warhorse. At the second Battle of Bull Run, he became frightened by the enemy and smashed General Lee's hands. General Lee finished this campaign in the ambulance or when mounted he was on horseback with someone leading his horse for him.

After The War

When the war ended Traveller went with Lee to Lexington, VA to live at Washington and Lee College. Stories have been told about all the visitors who plucked tail hair's from Traveller as a memento.

At General Lee's Funeral in 1870. Traveller followed the caisson draped in black crepe.

His Final Days and Final Resting Place


Traveller died shortly after Lee, in 1871. He stepped on a nail and developed Tetanus and was shot to relieve his suffering. He was buried on the grounds of the college.

At some point, someone who remains unknown unearthed Travellers bones and they were seen on display at many places. In 1929, they were placed in the basement of the Lee Chapel where they stayed for 30 years until they deteriorated.

In 1971, Travellers remains were buried in a wooden box encased in concrete on the Washington and Lee college grounds. He was laid to rest only a few feet from where his master, the famous General Robert E. Lee was laid to rest.

Traveller's Legacy Lives On

Traditionally the barn at the college where Traveller had lived out his life would leave the barn door open to allow his spirit to move about freely. The 24th president of the college was chastised for shutting the door and gates and breaking tradition. He repented by painting the doors and gates dark green and calling the color " Traveller Green".

Today, at the U.S Army's Fort Lee, the newspaper is still called Traveller in honor of the great horse.

If you would like to learn more, the book titled Traveller by Richard Adams is written about the war from the famous horses perspective. It tells of the personalities of the Confederate troop's and officers from a "horses eye view", especially that of his master, the famous General Robert E. Lee. This book is available on Amazon, both kindle version, soft and hardcover.

Traveller also became Breyer horse model horse companies collectible #718, part of the Horses in American History Collection.

General Lee did have other mounts during the war. Lucy Long, Richmond, and Roan to name a few, but none rose to the great fame and notoriety of Traveller.




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