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Dedication of our Rooms

 Famous Civil War Horses

Introduction

 

To commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the end of the War Between the States, The Colonels B&B felt it appropriate to rededicate their seven guestrooms and rename them after a series of famous Civil War Horses.

 

Many generals enjoyed the companionship of these steeds and the horse's name has become almost as famous as its owner's.

Without the horse, most wars would have died within a very short time for without the valiant contributions of horses in military and war, man’s march through time would be much different. Life was not easy for the warhorse and was often ended by disease, starvation, severe injuries or being ridden to extreme exhaustion.

Good horses were always in demand by the military during warfare; riding horses were necessary for cavalry charges, scouting, raiding, communication, and drawing horses were needed for transportation of military supplies and heavy armor. The horse was deeply embedded in military life until after World War I when the method of warfare changed completely. The use of trench warfare, barbed wire, machine guns and tanks rendered traditional cavalry almost obsolete and the cavalry began to phase out. Some horse cavalry units were used extensively for the transport of troops and supplies in World War II, but by the end of the war, horses were rarely seen in battle.


Many warhorses had their names written upon the scrolls of history by their evident bravery, faithfulness and good judgment on the battlefields and some of them became almost as famous as the brave men who fought with them. Exposed to tedious marches and bullet-swept battlefields, yet somehow realizing their importance in the conflict continuing onward until the end. The horse has contributed to the success of man more than any other animal.

Today, the war horse has almost disappeared, but it remains connected to man’s world. From working on the farm to the leisurely trail ride, the horse and human interactions are rooted in cavalry skills and classical horsemanship of days gone by. The riding and training skills of today were once used by the military on the horses in history.

One clause in the surrender terms at Appomattox in 1865 provided that every Confederate cavalryman was entitled to take his horse home with him. This provision, insisted on by General Lee, was accepted by General Grant when he was told that once they returned to civilian life, former soldiers wouldn't be able to plant spring crops without their war horses.

 

 Room One : Cincinnati (ca. 1860–1878) - Union Army

(Photograph of three of Grant's horses during the Overland Campaign (Cold Harbor, Virginia), from left to right: Egypt, Cincinnati, and Jeff Davis)

 

CINCINNATI was General Ulysses S. Grant's most famous horse during the American Civil War. He was the son of Lexington, the fastest four-mile thoroughbred in the United States and the most successful sire during the second half of the nineteenth century. Cincinnati was also the grandson of the great Boston, who sired Lexington. (Room 4 at the Colonels is named after Lexington).
At an early age, Grant emotionally bonded to horses. Grant was an excellent horseman and owned many horses in his lifetime. Cincinnati was a gift during the Civil War and he stood at 17 hands. Handsome and powerful, he quickly became Grant's favorite.
After the battle of Chattanooga, General Grant went to St. Louis to recover from contracting dysentery during the siege of Vicksburg. During this time, General Grant received a letter from an “S.S. Grant”, requesting the General’s visit for he had something important to say which might be gratifying to hear. With the initials identical of a deceased Uncle, the General’s curiosity created excitement and Grant obliged the offer.
Upon General Grant’s arrival, S.S. Grant uttered he had the finest horse in the world. He knew of General Grant's great liking for horses and wanted to give his horse to him with conditions. He desired the horse be in a good home with tender care, no ill-treatment and never fall into the hands of such. This promise was given and General Grant accepted the horse. He called him Cincinnati.
Grant rarely permitted anyone to mount the horse but there were two exceptions, Admiral Daniel Ammen and President Lincoln. With Cincinnati’s remarkable bloodlines, the grandson of Boston, the son of Lexington and a half-brother to Kentucky, many offers of money for the magnificent horse were refused by Grant, some as much as $10,000. Cincinnati remained Grant’s battle charger until the end of the war. Grant rode Cincinnati to negotiate Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House and the horse became immortalized. Grant went on to become the 18th President of the United States from 1869 to 1877. Cincinnati, Jeff Davis and Egypt all lived to enter the White House stables when Grant became president in 1869. Albert Hawkins was in charge of those stables at the time. Cincinnati died at his retirement facility, Admiral Ammen's farm in Maryland, in 1878.
Grant owned many horses in his lifetime, including one named Jeff Davis, so named because he acquired it during his Vicksburg Campaign from Jefferson Davis' brother Mississippi plantation.

 

Room Two : Lookout – Union Army

(Photograph General Joseph Hooker with his cherished horse named Lookout)

 

LOOKOUT the favorite horse General Hooker, dubbed "Fighting Joe", was acquired in New York, competing with the horse agent of the French Emperor Louis Napoleon, who offered repeatedly 1,000 Dollars for this chestnut of seventeen hands and about seven years old.

General Hooker named the Kentucky bred and undoubtedly finest horse in the US Army for the battle of Lookout Mountain where on 24 Nov. 1863, he won the "Battle above the Clouds" (three hours NW from The Colonels).

Following a major defeat of the Union Army of the Cumberland at Chickamauga, Georgia on 19-20 September.  Hooker was given the mission of moving two army corps (XI & XII corps from the Army of the Potomac), called “Hooker’s Easterners”, totaling 25,000 men and 3,000 horses and mules, from Virginia to Tennessee by railroad, a journey of 1,157 miles, to relieve the besieged Union forces of Major General William Rosecrans and Major General George Thomas that were near starvation in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

Hooker continued in the Western Theater under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, but left before the end of the Atlanta Campaign when he was bypassed for a promotion to command the Army of the Tennessee. The campaign from Dalton to Atlanta, and at the battle of Peachtree Creek, North of the city, on 20 July 1864, was the General’s last field command.

 

 

Room Three : Traveler – CSA

TRAVELER was the famous iron gray warhorse of General Robert Edward Lee, the Confederate commander. Traveler was born and raised in the mountains of West Virginia and as a colt won first prize at a fair in Lewisburg, Virginia.
In the spring of 1862, the horse was five years old when it became the property of Lee, who paid $200 in currency for him.

Traveler stood sixteen hands high, was muscular with a deep chest and short back, strong haunches and legs, small head, quick eyes, broad forehead, and small feet. His rapid, springy step and bold carriage made him prominent in the camps of the Confederates. Without falter, Traveler could easily carry Lee's weight at five or six miles an hour.
Traveler became the special companion of the general. The steed solidly accepted and withstood the hardships of the war campaigns in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. When the last battle of the Army of Northern Virginia was fought in April 1865, the veteran warhorse was still on duty.

When Lee rode to the McLean house at Appomattox Court House to surrender, he was astride Traveler and when Lee retired to Lexington, Virginia and Lee University, as its president, the veteran warhorse was still with him.

During the life of Traveler after the-war, he was the pet of the countryside about Lexington, Va. Many marks of affection were showered upon him and as the years passed and both master and servant neared life's end they became more closely attached. In 1870, the much-admired Lee died and the funeral cortege with Traveler marching behind the hearse, escorted Lee to his last resting place. Traveler with his step slow and his head bowed, as if he understood the impact of the occasion.
Two years later in 1872, turned out to pasture for grazing, Traveler stepped on a nail. With great effort to heal the horse, Traveler succumbed to lockjaw and died.

Traveler’s remains are interred outside the Lee Chapel close to the Lee family crypt.

We can see a print by Don Stivers (+ 2009) of General Robert E. Lee inspecting his troops on Traveler in the early hours of the tragic 3rd of July 1863 Gettysburg battle day (‘Silent Tribute’ dedicated to ‘The Colonels’ can be admired in the Western drawing room)


Room Four : Lexington – Union Army

LEXINGTON was General William Tecumseh Sherman’s favorite warhorse. Sherman had many horses that carried him through the war, two holding a particular place in his affections, Lexington and Sam. Lexington was a Kentucky thoroughbred, the fastest four-mile thoroughbred in the United States and one of the greatest sires. His excellent achievements attracted the admiration of all who saw him.

Sherman was astride Lexington when he entered Atlanta, Georgia and following the war in 1865, rode him in the final Grand Review in Washington D.C.

Lexington’s son, Cincinnati, was a gift to General Ulysses Grant.

Room 1 at the Colonels is named after Cincinnati.

 

 

Room Five : Old Baldy – Union Army

OLD BALDY was the horse ridden by Union Major General George G. Meade at the Battle of Gettysburg and in many other important battles of the American Civil War.

In the first great battle of the Civil War, at Bull Run, there was a bright bay horse, with white face and feet. His rider was seriously wounded. The horse was turned back to the quartermaster to recover from his wounds received that day. Later, in September, General Meade bought the horse and named him "Baldy." Though Meade became deeply attached to the horse, his staff officers soon began to complain of the peculiar pace of "Baldy," which was hard to follow. He had a racking gait that was faster than a walk and slow for a trot and compelled the staff, alternately, to trot and then to drop into a walk, causing great discomfort.
"Baldy's "war record was remarkable. He was wounded twice at the first battle of Bull Run; he was at the battle of Dranesville; he took part in two of the seven days' fighting around Richmond in the summer of 1862; at Groveton, August 29th, at the second battle of Bull Run; at South Mountain and at Antietam. In the last battle the gallant horse was left on the field as dead, but in the next Federal advance "Baldy" was discovered quietly grazing on the battle-ground, with a deep wound in his neck. He was tenderly cared for and soon was again fit for duty. He bore the general at the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. For two days "Baldy" was present at Gettysburg, where he received his most grievous wound from a bullet entering his body between the ribs, and lodging there. Meade would not part with the gallant horse, and kept him with the army until the following spring.
In the preparations of the Army of the Potomac for their last campaign, "Baldy" was sent to pasture at Downingtown, in Pennsylvania. After the surrender of Lee's army at Appomattox, Meade hurried to Philadelphia where he again met his faithful charger, fully recovered. For many years the horse and the general were inseparable companions, and when Meade died in 1872, the bullet-scarred war-horse followed the hearse. Ten years later "Baldy" died, and his head and two fore hoofs were mounted and are now cherished relics of the George G. Meade Post, Grand Army of the Republic, in Philadelphia.

A direct descendant of General Meade sojourned in the “Old Baldy Room” of The Colonels in 2013.

 

 

Room Six : Little Sorrel – CSA

LITTLE SORREL, also known as Fancy and Old Sorrel, became famous as the mount of the great Southern leader, General Thomas Stonewall Jackson. In 1861, while Jackson was in command at Harper's Ferry, the Confederates captured a trainload of supplies and horses, on the way to the Federal camps. One horse attracted Jackson's attention and he purchased the animal for his own personal use. Little Sorrel was chosen initially for Mrs. Jackson however, the General commandeered Little Sorrel because his horse, BIG SORREL, proved unreliable in battle.

 

Little Sorrel carried Jackson over many of the bullet-swept battlefields. During the swift campaign through the Shenandoah, in 1862, when Jackson marched his "foot cavalry" towards the citadel at Washington, the horse was his constant companion. In 1863, at Chancellorsville, Jackson while mounted on Little Sorrel was mistakenly wounded by his men in battle. Jackson died a few days later.

 

Immediately after Jackson’s death, Little Sorrel was pastured at Mrs. Jackson's home in North Carolina. Later he went on as a mascot to the Virginia Military Institute where the General had taught cadets he led to battle. Then, in response to requests from many Southern States, Little Sorrel was shown at fairs and exhibition. The gallant old warhorse of Jackson's was held in tender esteem in the South.

 

In 1885, very old and frail at the age of 35, Little Sorrel was retired to the Confederate Soldier's Home. The following year he died when the hoist used to lift him to his feet slipped; he fell breaking his back. His bones are buried at VMI near a statue of General Jackson, but his hide was stuffed and housed in a museum at the Veterans Home until 1949 when Little Sorrel was placed at V.M.I. Refurbished twice since 1886; Little Sorrel is presently on display at the Virginia Military Institute's Museum in Lexington, Virginia. Without question, no other horse in the War Between the States witnessed such fierce battle scenes — and survived — as did Jackson's horse: First and Second Manassas, Front Royal, Winchester, Cross Keys, Port Republic, Harpers Ferry, Fredericksburg, the Seven Days Campaign and that fateful final ride at Chancellorsville.

 

Room Seven : Hero – CSA

HERO is ridden by General James Longstreet in the ‘Silent Tribute’ print by Don Stivers (+2009) dedicated to ‘The Colonels’ at its opening (Western drawing room - General Robert E. Lee inspecting General Pickett’s division before their charge on the 3rd and final day of the battle of Gettysburg).

Hero was an Irish Thoroughbred but not much is known of the horse, neither exist today many of the personal items once belonging to the General, as a fire at his Piedmont hotel in Gainesville (1 hour from The Colonels) during the late nineteenth century destroyed almost all of his personal papers, uniforms, weapons and memorabilia.

 

The immediate years after the civil war, Longstreet enjoyed a successful post-war career working for the U.S. government as a diplomat, civil servant and administrator. However, his conversion to the Republican Party and his cooperation with his old friend, President Ulysses S. Grant, as well as critical comments he wrote in his memoirs about General Lee's wartime performance, made him anathema to many of his former Confederate colleagues.

The return of a Democratic administration ended his political careers and Longstreet went into semiretirement on a 65-acre (26 ha) farm near Gainesville, where he raised turkeys and planted orchards and vineyards on terraced ground that his neighbors referred to jokingly as "Gettysburg."

The year of the fire his first wife, Louise Longstreet, died. Eight years later the general remarried in a ceremony at the Governor's mansion in Atlanta, to Helen Dortch, a 34 year young widow. Although Longstreet's children reacted poorly to the marriage, Helen became a devoted wife and avid supporter of his legacy after his death. She outlived him by 58 years, dying in 1962. It will be of special interest to the guests of The Colonels that Helen Dortch took up about 1911 the creation of a State Park at Tallulah Gorge, now an important North Georgia Mountains destination, a little less than an hour and half north of our Inn.

Lieutenant General Longstreet had two horses. "Fly-By-Night”, given to him after his duty in the West by General Lee who praised him as "my old war horse" (Battlefield of Chickamauga, 3 hours from The Colonels).

Authors of the ‘Lost Cause movement’ focused on Longstreet's actions at Gettysburg as a primary reason for the Confederacy's loss of the war.  His reputation in the South was damaged for over a century and has only recently begun a slow reassessment. The general's reputation received a public relations boost from popular culture. Longstreet was a leading and sympathetic character in Michael Shaara's book "The Killer Angels" and in the resulting movie, "Gettysburg."

 

In 1998, one of the last monuments erected at Gettysburg National Military Park was dedicated as a belated tribute to Longstreet, an equestrian statue by sculptor Gary Casteel. He is shown riding on a depiction of his favorite horse, Hero, at ground level in a grove of trees in Pitzer Woods—unlike most generals, who are elevated on tall bases overlooking the battlefield.