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J.E.B. Stuart horses

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by 8thvacav, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. 8thvacav

    8thvacav Cadet

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    Can anybody tell me what color and breed was JEB Stuart's horse's were.
    Thank you, Martin

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  3. traveller

    traveller Cadet

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    Martin:

    I believe "Highfly" was a Bay. Not sure about "Virginia"

    Traveller.
  4. traveller

    traveller Cadet

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    Martin:


    I am currently reading Richard Adams book "Traveller" and throughout the book Stuart rides a brown horse by the name of "Skylark" I recall reading another book (I think it was "I rode with Stonewall" where Stuart arrives at Harpers Ferry riding a black horse. I would guess this to be "Virginia."

    Traveller
  5. 8thvacav

    8thvacav Cadet

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    Thanks a lot Rick.
    Martin
  6. max

    max Corporal

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    Traveller,

    I was wondering if you've finished reading the book Traveller, and what you thought of it.

    I just started the book and it's a bit hard to follow during the early chapters.

    Max
  7. traveller

    traveller Cadet

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    Max:
    I haven't finished it yet, partly due to the fact that I also find it hard to bit read with phrases such as "You should jest'a seed the Colonels face." Maybe thats how a horse talked 150 years ago, but it makes for hard reading for me. Maybe I just live too far North. It is interesting, though. I like the way Traveller refers to the humans ("Cap-in-his-eyes" "Jine-the-Cavalry") It puts the war in a very simple perspective. You have to realize that this is a horse (a very intelligent one, mind you. LOL) speaking to a cat.
    Enjoy the rest of the book.

    Traveller
  8. max

    max Corporal

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    About the only part that I've understood, was that it was a horse talking to a cat. [​IMG]
  9. gary

    gary 1st Lieutenant

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    Traveller should have been named Mr. Ed.[​IMG]
  10. jenna

    jenna Cadet

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    Posted on the website civilwarhome.com/horses.htm, this is what they say about JEB's horses: Maj. Gen. Jeb Stuart - Virginia - credited with having prevented the capture of by jumping an enormous ditch. In addition to the mare, Stuart frequently rode Highfly.

    And what they say about Traveller: Gen. Robert E. Lee - Traveller - by all odds this best-known horse of the war was Lee's favorite. Earlier he owned and rode Richmond, Brown-Roan, Lucy Long, and Ajax. Traveller is the purported author of a ghost-written volume that depicts the Civil War as seen through equine eyes

    I can see why the Traveller book would be hard to read since horses don't see straight anyways (Ha Ha!)

    Off of the same site, but paged: civilwarhom.com/warhorse.htm was this bit on Stuart, and Highfly was a bay:
    General Stuart's "Highfly"

    The battle horse, "Highfly," carried General "Jeb" Stuart through many campaigns and had become his favored companion. The intelligence and faithfulness of the steed had many times borne the dashing cavalier through desperate perils. In the summer of 1862, at Verdiersville on the plank road between Fredericksburg and Orange, in Virginia, Stuart was stretched out upon a bench on the porch of the tavern, awaiting the arrival of General Fitzhugh Lee with whom he desired to confer on the next movement of the cavalry. "Highfly" was unbridled and grazing in the yard near the road. The clatter of horses aroused the Confederate general, and he walked to the roadway, leaving behind on the bench his hat, in which was a black plume, the pride of Stuart's heart. Suddenly, horsemen dashed around the bend in the road and Stuart was within gunshot of Federal cavalry. He was nonplussed; he had expected to see Fitzhugh Lee. Mounting his faithful and speedy bay he soon left the chagrined cavalry far behind, but the foe carried away the hat with its black plume.


    Unfortunatly I have found nothing to say what breed either horse was. My guess would be a quarter horse of some sort. Sure of foot and loyal quarter horses would have been the best. Morgans are too high stung, Arbs rather skitish but very very fast, and Thouroghbreds were very high maintance. But who knows, I could be way wrong on that. I know that the quarter horse breed was around by that time so to me that would be the common sence choice.

    Mr. Ed. Thats funny.

    Have any of you heard the legend about the horse monuments at Gettysburg? I have heard that if you see a horse with both legs planted firmly in place that the general or commander survived to die of old age. If one leg was up that meant that they died of wounds later, and if the horse was rearing they died in battle there. Anyone care to confirm that one?
  11. 8thvacav

    8thvacav Cadet

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    Thank all of you for the info on this thread.
    Martin
  12. dawna

    dawna First Sergeant

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    I'm jumping in a little late here but since I have owned horses most of my life, I am very interested in the cavalry on both sides of the army and all aspects of horsemanship/training programs at the time. It would make sense that most of the horses used in the cavalry were quarter horse or QH/Morgan crosses and although Arabs do tend to be on the flighty side, they are long noted for their swiftness, endurance and intelligence. I don't think that Thoroughbreds would have been the horse of choice, but I do believe that Picket's last horse was a TB...please correct me if I'm wrong.

    I'm trying to put together my own book on Civil War horses so any help would be greatly appreciated. They were all, like the men, courageous beyond belief.

    Dawna
  13. aphillbilly

    aphillbilly Guest

    Dawna,
    Have you read Traveller by Richard Adams? It is a first-person narrative, in dialect, by Robert E. Lee's horse. Traveller's equine memoirs are told to a cat in the stable of the retired general.
    ISBN: 0440204933

    YMOS
    tommy
  14. dawna

    dawna First Sergeant

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    Tommy:

    I haven't read Traveller but it sounds most interesting and well worth investigating. I believe that Traveller was General Lee's favourite horse?

    Dawna
  15. aphillbilly

    aphillbilly Guest

    Traveller was the war horse of General Robert E. Lee. Traveller was ridden by General Lee thoughout most of the Civil War. The iron grey horse was born in 1857 in Greenbrier County, in what is now West Virginia. He was first named Jeff Davis by Andrew Johnston, who bred him. He was renamed Greenbrier by the next owner, Captain Joseph M. Broun. Lee bought the gelding from Capt. Broun for $200 in 1861 and renamed him Traveller. The horse weighed around eleven hundred pounds and stood 15.3 hands high. He was not only iron grey in color, but iron in constitution, and was Lee's favorite mount. The horse was steady no matter how fierce the noise of battle or the crush of fighting, surefooted with great stamina, and had easy gaits to ride. Some think the horse was an ambler (like a Tennessee Walking Horse), but no facts exist to prove that. His conformation does seem to resemble the Plantation Horse, which had an ambling gait. General Lee gave Traveller a rest now and then and rode other horses, but Traveller was always his favorite mount.

    In 1870, after General Lee died of a heart attack, Traveller was led behind the General's hearse. He outlived General Lee, but only for a short time. Not long after Lee's death, Traveller stepped on a rusty nail and developed lockjaw. There was no cure, and he was shot to relieve his suffering. Traveller was only 13 years old. He was buried next to the Lee Chapel. In 1907 his remains were disinterred and displayed at the Chapel for a while before being reburied outside the Lee Chapel.

    In a note written to Markie Williams, who wanted to paint a portrait of the horse, Lee said of Traveller, "If I was an artist like you, I would draw a true picture of Traveller; representing his fine proportions, muscular figure, deep chest, 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 his endurance of toil, hunger, thirst, heat and cold; and the dangers and suffering through which he has passed. He could dilate upon his sagacity and affection, and his invarible response to every wish of his rider. He might even imagine his thoughts through the long night-marches and days of the battle through which he has passed. But I am no artist Markie, and can therefore only say he is a Confederate grey."
  16. dawna

    dawna First Sergeant

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    I am deeply appreciative of the information that you have provided and if there never was a picture or statue made in Traveller's likeness, Lee's verbal description of his beloved horse could not have painted a better picture. I understand "favourite mounts" and the Civil War would have been severely compromised without an abundance of steady, physically capable and reliable horses.

    One thing I am curious about though...wouldn't General Lee have been highly visible on a grey horse?

    Dawna
  17. hoosier

    hoosier 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host

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    Lee would have been visible, but primarily to his own men. As the commanding general, it was his place to stay well out of range of the enemy.

    There was one example at the battle of the Wilderness where Lee, in a most uncharacteristic moment of overexuberance, ordered a charge and actually rode out in front of his troops as if to personally lead the charge.

    His troops, most of them from Texas, immediately set up the cry, "General Lee to the rear," and made it clear they weren't going to move forward if it was going to put their commanding general in jeopardy. Lee quickly recovered his senses and rode back to the rear where he belonged.
  18. dawna

    dawna First Sergeant

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    A little more trivia on horses.

    Lt. James Stewert, Battery B of the 4th Regulars on Day 1 at Gettysburg: Stewert sat on his horse amid his guns facing the enemy. Apparently Stewert's horse was a war veteran who'd had most of his tail lopped off in a previous battle. Since then, Stewert's horse consistently refused to expose his rear to the enemy once the shooting began.
  19. jenna

    jenna Cadet

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    Dawna,
    You are missing a huge part of the whole sceme when it comes to horses. Horses were not just for the cav units or the officers, they were used heavily in the artillery. Yep, the big guns!

    The average cannon took 6 horses to pull the limber and cannon. It took 3 riders that rode the left horse, and they wore a special brace legging on their left leg to protect them as they rode from having their leg crushed or rubbed constantly on the wheels.

    Then there were 6 more horses for the caissons (in theroy, two limbers strung together). Again, 3 riders.

    Now you add to that the battery forge, which the cannon crews needed. The blacksmith traveled with them, and so the forge needed 4-6 horses as well.

    Typically the Morgan was the preferred horse for the artillery units. The morgan was not as wide as a percheron or belgin, or a clyde. And a morgan could pull for long periods of time and not get tired.

    The horses were not to be mistreated, for they were essential. The Federal Instruction for Field Artillery stated "To strike a horse whilst at the picket rope, or in the stall, is apat to make him vicious; it is stictly prohibited......Horses require gentle treatment. Docile, but bold horses, may be excited to retaliate upon those who abuse them, whereas persistent kindness has often reclaimed vicious ones."

    Horse batteries had to maintain the same pace as the cavalry unity they accompanied so catching rides on these horses slowed them down and was sticktly prohibited.

    While the battle of Gettysburg made men out of boys, horses prefomed honorably and were hereos as well. Compared to mules their temperment was perfectly suited for the artillery. When sufficiently trained battery horses even learned to distinguish some of the different bugle calls, enough to respond sometimes before their riders.

    A quote from the book: Civil War Artillery at Gettysburg, Union Gen. John Gibbon wrote of the valor of the battery horses:
    Over all hung a heavy pall of smoke which could be seen rapidly moving legs of the men as they rushed to and fro between the pieces and the line of limbers, carrying forward the ammunition. One thing which forcibly occurred to me was the perfect quiet with which the horses stood in their places. Even when a shell, striking in the midst of a them, would knock over one or two of them or hurl on struggling in his death agonies to the ground, the rest would make no effort to struggle or escape but would stand stolidly by as if saying to themselves, "it is fate, it is useless to try and avoid it.""

    So there is a little on our hero war horses of the batteries.
  20. thea_447

    thea_447 Cadet

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    Jenna,
    Thanks for this very informative post. In the Gibbon quote you have put me there on the field with these magnificent animals, stoic to the end.
  21. dawna

    dawna First Sergeant

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    Jenna:

    As a woman who has suffered from "Black Beauty Disease" and been fortunate enough to own horses most of my life, I am grateful for this information, and tribute, to all horses of the Civil War. I am particularly interested in horses as mounts at that time, but I also have a deep appreciation for the noble animals that were used for other purposes as well. Moving heaving equipment and weapons would not have been possible without the strength, spirit, and co-operation of the horse, and as Thea indicated, they were stoic to the end.

    Dawna

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