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General Stonewall Jackson's Little Sorrel

Updated on August 1, 2018

The Story Begins in Connecticut

His story begins though when he was born at Noah C. Collins farm in Somer Connecticut. He was a Morgan horse descended from the famous Justin Morgan. They are known for their strong feet and legs as well as having calm dispositions. This famously calm demeanor made them ideal as combat mounts.

How He Ended Up In The Hands of Confederate Soldiers

He began his military career when he was purchased by the Northern Government for use in the civil war. His purchase price was $150.

In 1861, the horse that became known as Little Sorrel fell into Confederate hands in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Little Sorrel, was a 15 hand Morgan gelding.
Little Sorrel, was a 15 hand Morgan gelding. | Source

How Fancy Became Little Sorrel

The famous general surveyed the horses planning on keeping two of them for himself. The bigger chestnut he named Big Sorrel and planned on using him as his personal mount. The smaller, more refine chestnut he named Fancy and had sent to his wife as a gift.

The general realized quickly that he had picked the wrong horse for himself. Big Sorrel was easily frightened and though he had the size and strength of a war horse he did not have the disposition to be one.

Fancy, the horse he had sent to his wife on the other hand, though small only standing at 15 hands, had what it takes to carry a General into battle. So Jackson reclaimed Fancy a renamed him Little Sorrel.

After The Generals Death

It was Little Sorrel that Jackson was on May 2, 1863, when he was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville. A few days later some artillery soldiers on the battlefield recognized the horse as Jacksons. They then turned him over to General J.E.B Stuart.

General Stuart had him sent back to Anna Jackson, who sent him to live on her families farm in North Carolina. Little Sorrel was later donated to the Virginia Military Institute where he stayed for two years. He later moved to the Confederate Soldiers Home in Richmond. He spent his remaining days there making appearances at Confederate Soldier reunions and county fairs.

Little Sorrel's hide was mounted on a plaster model and can still be viewed at the Virginia Military Institute today.
Little Sorrel's hide was mounted on a plaster model and can still be viewed at the Virginia Military Institute today. | Source

The Death of Little Sorrel

He died in March of 1866, at the age of 36. His remains were given to the taxidermist Frederic Webster, who put his hide on a plaster model. Webster kept the horse's skeleton as " part payment for his services".

The model of Little Sorrel is on display behind glass at The Virginia Military Institute. In 1977, his bones were returned to the institute. They were cremated and interred on the institute's parade grounds, in front of the statue of his famous rider, General Stonewall Jackson.

In 1990, Little Sorrel's hometown of Somer, Connecticut named a street after him.

Little Sorrel's skeletal remains were cremated and interred near a statue of General Stonewall Jackson.
Little Sorrel's skeletal remains were cremated and interred near a statue of General Stonewall Jackson. | Source


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