Bright Chestnut, white socks, white face
Horse of General George Meade
Battles Fought: First and Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, The Wilderness, Cold Harbor, Bristol Station, Petersburg, Danville, Mechanicsburg, Gaines' Mill, South Mountain, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Grovetown
Baldy was wounded at least 5 times in battle, and some say up to 14 times.
He was raised on the Western Frontier and was orginally owned by General David Hunter, under whom he was wounded several times. He was sent to the Cavalry Depot to recuperate, after which General George Meade purchased him for $150.
At Antietam, Baldy was shot in the neck and left for dead. Miraculously, he was found grazing with the would in his neck when the reigment advanced a few hours later. Meade nursed him back to health, but in July 1863 he was shot at Gettysburg. Meade wrote to his wife;"Old Baldy is still living and apparently doing well; the ball passed within an inch of my thigh, passed through the saddle and entered Baldy's stomach. I did not think he could live, but the old fellow has such a wonderful tenacity of Life that I am in hopes he will."
Baldy was sent to recuperate and returned to action, only to be shot in the ribs at Weldon Railroad, after which he was retired to a farm outside of Philadelphia. In July 1864, Meade sent a letter to his wife and declared "I am glad to hear the good news about Baldy, as I am very attached to the old brute."
Baldy outlived Meade and served as the riderless horse in Meade's funeral procession in November 1872. He lived another ten years and had to be euthanized in 1882 at the age of 30, when he was too feeble to stand. The newspaper account described the sad event: " No roll of musketry pealed forth over his newly made grave..."
The following week, on Christmas Day, two zealous Union Army Vetrans disinterred Baldy's remains and severed his head, delivering it to a famous taxidermist as a "relic of the Old Veteran."
Baldy's head was mounted and has been cared for by the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table in Philadelphia. Beloved Old Baldy is now on display at the Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum, where cermonies were conducted on this return to public view in September 2010.
Chesnut stallion, thoroughbred
The most famous of General Ulysses S. Grant's horses.
Cincinnati was a son of Lexington, the fastest 4-miler in the country (7:19 3/4 minutes). He was 17 hands high and also the grandson of the famous racehorse Boston.
Cincinnati was given as a present to Grant by an admirer. After the battle of Chattanooga, Grant was in St. Louis and he received a letter from a S.S. Grant summoning him to his sick bed. The ailing man gave the valuable horse to Ulysses with the stipulation that he must promise that neither he nor anyone else would ever mistreat the horse.
Grant thought Cincinnati was the "finest horse he had ever seen." At one point, Grant was offered $10,000 for Cincinnati and he turned it down. Cincinnati became Grant's favorite horse and he rarely permitted anyone else to ride him with the exception of Admiral Daniel Ammen and President Lincoln.
Captain Samual H. Beckwith, Grant's cypher operator, wrote of Cincinnati: "No artist could paint the beauty of this horse in the midst of action, when the curb was required to hold him back."
Grant found Cincinnati to be gentle and quiet until he was ridden in battle, during which he was full of spirit. He rode Cincinnati to the surrender at the Appomattox Court House.
Cincinnati, Egypt and the pony Jeff Davis all survived the was and went on to live in the White House Stable. When an equestrian statue of Grant was commissiond, Grant would saddle Cincinnati up everyday to ride out to meet the sculptor.
Cincinnate died in Maryland at the farm of Admiral Daniel Ammen.
An avid and skilled horseman from boyhood, Grant wrote: "When old age comes on and I get to feeble to move about, I expect to derive my chief plearue sitting in a big armchair in the center of a ring -- a sort of training course, holding a colt's leading-lines in my hand, and watching him run around the ring."
One of Ulysses S. Grant's famous horses.
Egypt was the gift of a group of people in Southern Illinois who came across what they thought was an exceptionally beautiful horse. They decided to purchase the horse as a gift for General Grant as a show of their admiration.
The horse was named Egypt because the area of Illinois from which he came was known as Egypt. The northern part of Illinois was called Canaan.
Grant's love of horses was widely known. At the age of 13, he started a livery and shipping service: trusted at a young age to deliver passengers, horses, and goods throughout Illinois and Ohio, riding alone for days.
Upon entering the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Grant quickly became known as "the best horseman at West Point." One of the Academy's horses, York, would rear up and fall over backwards. Grant lept up, stayed on, and tamed him -- the two of them became a team and went on to jump the highest jump at the school. Their jump of 6'3" was the record at West Point for nearly 50 years.
"Horses seem to understand Ulysses." -- Hannah Grant (his mother)
Egypt survived the battlefield and joined Cincinnati in the White House Stable.
(ca. 1850 -1886)
Small chestnut gelding, unknown breed, some consider him a Morgan horse
Ridden by General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson throughout the war
He survied fierce battles such as:
First and Second Manassas, Kernstown, McDowell, Front Royal, Winchester, Cross Keys, Port Republic, Cedar Mountain, Harper's Ferry, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Seven Days Campaign, Chancellorsville
Confederate forces had seized a group of Union horses from a Baltimore and Ohio train headed East, and Jackson declard them to be Confederate government property and bought two for his own use: Big Sorrel and Fancy (for his wife). After discovering that Fancy had the better temperment for battle and a smooth pace, he took Fancy for himself, renaming him Little Sorrel. His pace was so smooth that Jackson often fell asleep on long marches.
There are some that believe Little Sorrel was a Morgan horse -- a favorite of the US Cavalry, prized for their agility, endurance and low maintenance.
It is thought that Little Sorrel was eleven years old when Jackson acquired him. Though a plain horse, he had a wonderful disposition and spirit. He could carry Jackson 40 miles a day.
Kirk Douglas, one of Jackson's staff, wrote: "He is a remarkable little horse. Such endurance I have never seen in horse flesh. I never saw him show a sign of fatigue. He could eat a ton of hay or live on cobs."
Jackson was riding Little Sorrel when he was mortally wounded by friendly fire at Chancellorsville.
Mrs. Jackson couldn't afford to keep Little Sorrel, and after the war he lived at the Virginia Military Academy (VMI) where he grazed on the parade grounds. It is said that when the cadets would fire the cannons, Little Sorrel's ears would perk up, his nostrils would flare, and he would run around the field as if looking for Jackson.
In his old age, Little Sorrel moved to the Confederate Soldier's Home at Richmond College. Here he was treated like a pet by the Old Veterans, who made a sling to help him stand. Once when they were lifting the horse, the sling broke and Little Sorrel's back was broken when he fell.
The taxidermist Frederic S. Webster wrote: " An old Confederate Veteran, Tom O'Donnell, stood by during the day, and at night slept beside his charge intil he went over the green fields of some animal heaven to rest in peace and honor..." Little Sorrel was 36 years old.
Webster mounted Little Sorrel and the horse was displayed at the R.E. Lee Camp in Richmond until the last Confederate veteran died at 105. Little Sorrel's mounted hide was then given to VMI, where it was on display at the Library for 20 years.
In 1997, one hundred and eleven years after his death, Little Sorrel's skeleton, which had been returned to VMI in 1949 by the Carnegie Institute, was cremated and buried in a solemn and moving ceremony which included mounted cavalry and infantry, a fife and drum corps, a bagpiper, and the Daughters of the Confederacy serving as pallbearers. The service was given by Rev. William Klein, pastor of the Lexington Presbyterian Church, where Jackson had worshipped.
Soil from every battlefield on which Little Sorrel and Jackson had fought was gathered by the UDC memebers, and handful by handful dropped into Little Sorrel's grave, which was decorated with wreaths of apples, carrots, and horseshoes.
Mrs. Jackson remembered Little Sorrel in her memoirs:" His name of Fancy seemd rather a misnomer, for he was anything but a fancy-looking animal... His eyes were his cheif beautry, big mos intelligent adn expressive, and soft as a gazelle's. He had a peculiar habit of lying down like a dog when the ommand halted for rest. His master made a pet of him and often fed him apples from his own hand."
In 2007, Little Sorrel's stuffed form received an extensive conservation overhaul financed by the Daughters of the Confederacy.
Horse of General Philip Sheridan. Jet-black stallion with 3 white socks, 16-17 hands.
Winchester / Rienzi was foaled in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His bloodline included Morgan horses of the prestigious Black Hawk line. He had a long stride and walked at roughly five mph. At more than 16 hands high, he was big for the slightly built General Sheridan. Captain Archibald Campbell of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry, who brought the 3-year-old horse with him, first owned Rienzi. Campbell, who rarely rode the spirited colt, gave him to Sheridan after a decisive victory in 1863, shortly before the raid on Rienzi Mississippi, hence his name.
Sheridan rode Winchester/ Rienzi almost constantly for the next three years -- through 45 engagements, 19 fierce battles, and cavalry raids.
Winchester/ Rienzi became a national celebrity in October 1864 when he played a role in saving the Union Army from defeat at Cedar Creek. Sheridan was in Washington DC for a staff meeting, when Confederates launched a surprise attack on his troops in Cedar Creek Virginia. Sheridan was still 20 miles away in Winchester when he awoke to the sound of cannons. Sheridan rode Rienzi at full gallop towards his troops arriving in time to rally his soldiers: "Men, by God, we'll whip them yet!" he shouted. Sheridan's troops rallied and prevailed, and the dramatic ride created a media frenzy and inspired paintings, prints, songs and poems. Henceforth, Rienzi became nationally known as Winchester.
The most famous poem was "Sheridan's Ride," by Thomas Buchanan Read. The poem is even credited to saving the election of 1864. At the time, the public was war-weary and General Early's attack at Cedar Creek almost unseated Sheridan and Lincoln. The poem with it's inspiring message was printed on the front page of Horace Greeley's New York Tribune on Election Day and the public voted Lincoln back in for a second term.
"The thing they seem to like best about it (the poem) is the horse." Sheridan wrote to Read, " Your genius has put us into the same boat for a long journey, and we must try to take along the black horse."
When Winchester died in 1878, he was stuffed (mounted) and presented to the Military Museum on Governor's Island in New York. Years later, Winchester received a military escort to the Smithsonian when the Military Museum was damaged by a fire. At this ceremony, the 22nd Infantry Band played Civil War music. The poem "Sheridan's Ride" was recited and an Old Civil War Veteran stood up and gave Winchester a cheer: "Hurrah for Sheridan! Hurrah, Hurrah for the horse and man!"
Close to the time of Winchester’s death, Sheridan described his beloved steed “He was powerfully built, with a deep chest, strong shoulders, a broad forehead, and had a most intelligent eye. In his prime he was one of the strongest horses I have ever known, very active, and the fastest walker in the army, so far as my experience goes. I rode him constantly, from 1862 to the close of the war, in all the raids, actions, and campaigns in which I took part. His staying powers were superb. He always held his head high, and by the quickness of his movements gave many persons the impression that he was exceedingly impetuous. This was far from being the case, for I could at any time control him by a few soothing words and a firm hand. Moreover, he was as cool and quiet under fire as one of my oldest soldiers. I doubt if his superior as a horse for field service was ever ridden.”
Beloved farm horse and steadfast warrior of Union cavalryman George Barrett, 28th Regiment Volunteers of Company B, Indiana, First Cavalry
In 1855, at the age of one week, the filly Fly was given to the young George Barrett, beginning an exceptional relationship that took them on a long journey together that would last for Fly's entire life and beyond.
When George was 20 years old and Fly was 6 years old, George enlisted in the 28th Regiment Volunteers of Company B, Indiana, First Cavalry. It was July 1861.
Together, over the next three years, George and Fly survived dozens of close calls as they fought with the Union Army in its campaign to control the Mississippi River. Once surrounded by Confederate troops, Barrett and Fly made a heart stopping escape by plunging from a cliff and swimming across an icy river. Barrett and Fly served three years in good health.
When Barrett finished his enlistment in 1864, he was distressed to learn that the Army wanted to keep the battle-ready Fly and ordered Barrett to surrender the horse. Barrett desperately appealed and was able to get the order stayed so that Fly could go home to the peaceful life of a farm horse.
Yet the journey home from their station in Arkansas to Indiana would be as dangerous as any service as the war was still raging and confederate rebels would certainly steal Fly. While, Union soldiers in need of a horse could confiscate Fly. To avoid these treacherous roads, the two traveled by boat and train when possible. When they got close to home in Posey County, Indiana, George could not control Fly who took off and flew straight to the farm without stopping until she was back in her stall.
Fly became a local celebrity, appearing in parades and ceremonies. She and Barrett continued to live at the farm together, and when she grew old, he built a sling to help her stand on her aging legs. Fly died in 1893 at the age of 38, and her grave was honored with an official maker given by the Grand Army of the Republic.
Several years later, Barrett decided to have Fly's skeleton disinterred, reassembled and displayed in a museum. Her skeleton now resides as the Working Men's Institute in New Harmony, Indiana.
On the occasion of a special program about Fly, Patricia Johnson, wife of Robert Johnson, George Barrett's grandson, presented the museum with a white box. In the white box was a swatch of Fly's tail. The family had kept this memento of the beloved and brave Fly for more than 100 years.
Primary horse of General Robert E. Lee
Dappled, iron grey gelding with black points, 16 hands
Traveller was thought to be at least one-half thoroughbred -- the son of Grey Eagle, a prominent thoroughbred four-mile racehorse, who sired both Saddlebreds and racehorses. His dam, Flora, was a gaited Kentucky mare.
Traveller was raised near Blue Sulphur Springs in Greenbrier County, Virginia (now W.VA). Traveller was originally known as “Greenbrier” and was purchased in the fall of 1861 by Major Thomas Broun. When Lee first saw Broun's horse he called him "beautiful," taking quite a fancy to him.
Broun's brother described the horse in detail:
“…he was greatly admired in camp for his rapid, springy walk, his high spirit, bold carriage, and muscular strength. He needed neither whip nor spur, and would walk his five or six miles an hour over the rough mountain roads of Western Virginia with his rider sitting firmly in the saddle and holding him in check by a tight rein, such vim and eagerness did he manifest to go right ahead so soon as he was mounted.”
Braun offered to give the horse to Lee, but Lee said he couldn't accept such an offer; but after trying the horse, he bought him for $200. Lee renamed the horse Traveller because he was a fast walker.
Lee had inherited a love of horses from his father, "Light Horse Harry" Lee, who was known for his skilled horsemanship. And similar to many Southern males, R.E. Lee started riding at a very young age. As a general, he tended to sweaty carriers’ horses, commanded that the draft horses be rested, and gave directions on the good care of the troops’ horses.
Traveller carried Lee throughout the war, all the way to Appomattox. And every soldier, both Confederate and Union knew him by sight. Traveller often received gifts from his fans.
Traveller was usually difficult to frighten, but at one point he spooked while Lee was holding him. Lee fell and broke both hands and spent the remainder of that campaign riding in an ambulance or with someone leading his horse.
Lee's admiration for Traveller is clearly expressed in a letter:
“If I were an artist like you I would draw a true picture of Traveller – representing his fine prominent proportions, muscular figure, deep chest and short back, strong haunches, flat legs, small head, broad forehead, delicate ears, quick eye, small feet, and black mane and tail. Such a picture would inspire a poet, whose genius could then depict his worth and describe the endurance of toil, hunger, thirst, heat, cold, and the dangers and sufferings through which he passed… I purchased him in the mountains of Virginia in the autumn of 1861, and he has been my patient follower ever since – to Georgia, the Carolinas, and back to Virginia. He carried me through the Seven Days battle around Richmond, the Second Manassas – Fredericksburg, the last day of Chancellorsville, to Pennsylvania, at Gettysburg, and then back to Rappahannock. From the commencement of the campaign in 1864 at Orange, till it’s close around the Petersburg, the saddle was scarcely off his back.. In the campaign for 1865, he bore me from Petersburg to the final days at Appomattox Court House. You must know the comfort he is to me in my present retirement.”
After the War, Traveller remained with Lee and spent his years at Washington College. When Lee died in 1870, Traveller walked behind the caisson, draped in black crepe.
Traveller died a year after Lee in 1871, when he developed tetanus and was euthanized. Unknown persons unearthed his remains and his bones were bleached and exhibited in New York in 1875. Thanks to Joseph Bryan, a journalist, Traveller's bones were returned to Washington and Lee University where they were put on display but eventually left to deteriorate.
In 1971, one hundred years after his death, Traveller's remains were buried and encased in concrete a few feet away from the Lee family crypt.
The stable door to Traveller's stall at the College is traditionally left open to allow his spirit to wander at will.
(1852 - ?)
One of Nathan Bedford Forrest's favorite horses
Large iron-grey gelding
Unlike 29 of Forrest's horses, King Philip miraculously survived the war.
According to Forrest biographer John Hurst, the general is often considered the greatest American cavalryman using tactics presaging the German blitzkrieg. Nicknamed "the wizard of the saddle," Forrest rose from deep poverty to immense wealth as a plantation owner and slave trader. He was the only soldier on either side to enlist as a private and rise to a Lieutenant General.
William T. Sherman called Forrest a "devil that needed to be hunted down and killed if it costs 10,000 lives and bankrupts the treasury." Forrest posted ads to join his regiment reading "Men with good horses and good gun. If you want to have fun and kill some Yankees."
In an 1866 history of the campaigns, General Thomas Jordan wrote about King Philip: "..conspicuous iron grey gelding...sluggish on ordinary occasions, became superbly excited in battle, and was a quick to detect the presence of a blue coat as any Confederate soldier, and was as ready to make battle which he did, by laying back his ears and rushing at the offending object with open mouth.”
It is believed that King Philip was first ridden by Captain John Billups in the 43rd Mississippi Regiment. Billups was wounded at Vicksburg and paroled back to Columbus Ohio is July 1863 with his horse.
Rufus Ward of the Columbus Dispatch recounts this family story: "While recovering from a wound at Colonel Billups (John's father) house in Columbus, Forrest admired a fine saddle horse and asked to purchase the horse. Billups replied that he would not sell him at any cost. When Forrest had recovered and was leaving to return to battle, he called for his horse to be brought around. To his surprise the horse that was brought to him was King Philip, the horse had admired -- a gift from Col. Billups.
In his biography of Forrest, author Hurst describes the fierce fighting at the Battle of Okolona:
"Dr. Cowan again was riding beside the general, and he urged Forrest to 'get out of the road.' Forrest refuse almost contemptuously: ' Doctor if you are alarmed, you may get out of the way; I am as safe here as there.' A moment later the general's horse was killed, struck by five balls almost simultaneously while its saddle was shattered by another three. As its miraculously unhurt rider was being provided with another mount, he and Cowan noticed a terrified farmwoman and her children trying to shield themselves from shells and bullets behind a small log cabin's chimney. Forrest noted a hole in the ground where clay had been bug to build the chimney and he sent Cowan over to lead them to that better refuge. ‘In there,' he told Cowan, ‘they will be perfectly safe.' He had not ridden the new horse more than 150 yards before it, too, was killed -- just as his twelve-year-old, iron-grey gelding King Philip was brought to him from the rear; King Philip, an otherwise sluggish animal distinguished by a habit of rushing furiously at blue-clad troops with his ears back and his teeth bared, himself took a shot in the neck that afternoon, but lived."
King Philip miraculously survived the war, but remained vigilant. One day after the war, a friendly group of Unionists went to visit Forrest on his Mississippi plantation and they were attacked by King Philip. The horse rushed at them and tried to bite their blue uniforms. As they tried to fight him off, Forrest's body servant ran out to save them. One of the victims said he now understood how Forrest had achieved his impressive war record: “Your negroes fight for you and your horses fight for you."
Forrest liked to note that 29 horses had been shot out from under him, and he had personally killed 30 of the enemy troops. “In the end,” he proclaimed, “ I was a horse ahead.”