Thursday, March 26, 2009

February 1864, Lt. Chas W. Wolsey with horse.

For me, the best way to learn about history has been to find a connection that is personally meaningful. Gettysburg has so much to tell us; but it can often be overwhelming. Whenever I go to the battlefield, I find it hard to process it all-I desperately want to know every detail, but I find my memory is not what I wish it would be-I often walk away with alot of jumbled facts in no particular order swimming around my brain. The times when I have commented to my husband that I think I am losing my mind, he fondly replies, "Its a small thing to misplace."
A good way for me to retain some semblance of information has been to research those things of interest to me. Having a life long love of horses, I thought I would do a little investigating about the horses of the Civil War.
Apparently, there were approximately 72,000 horses and mules that were involved at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Probably the best known of all the horses is Traveller, originally named Jeff Davis,(1857–1871). He was Confederate General Robert E. Lee's most famous horse during the American Civil War.

General Lee took a great fancy to the horse. He called him his "colt", and predicted to Broun that he would use it before the war was over. After Lee was transferred to South Carolina, Joseph Broun sold the horse to him for $200 in February, 1862. Lee named the horse "Traveller" (spelling the word with a double 'l' in British style).

Another amazing horse is General George G. Meade's horse, Baldy.

According to the story of Old Baldy, he was wounded 14 times in as many battles and survived the war and General Meade. Old Baldy survived the General by ten years, dying in 1882 at the age of thirty. On Christmas Day of that year, nine days after his death, Old Baldy was "resurrected" by two admirers of General Meade, Harry W. Hervey and Albert C. Johnston. They had Old Baldy's head preserved and then mounted on an ebony shield on which they inscribed his service record. Old Baldy was then presented to Gen. George G. Meade Post #1, Grand Army of the Republic, of Philadelphia. The head of Old Baldy was cleaned and restored in 1991 and is now on display in the Civil War Museum in Philadelphia.
(Okay, I love my horse, but I don't think I would ever consider doing that to her.)

Major General William T. Sherman astride his horse

I know there are many, many more stories about these regal creatures that I will be looking forward to sharing with you, from the past and present. And, who knows, maybe someone will be writing about me and Dancer someday- (hopefully, no one will have either of our heads mounted on a plaque.) We're just your average, everyday girl and horse!

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