A Series of Unfortunate Events ... Grant thrown by his horse and defeat at Chickamauga

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Cavalry Charger

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@lelliott19 has kindly shared an article with me re: Grant's unfortunate fall from a horse while visiting New Orleans in September 1863. He was there in order to undertake a review of the Thirteenth Corps, recently arrived from Vicksburg, which was due to be held in his honor. One of the interesting points raised in the article is whether the accident which confined Grant to his bed for several weeks, was in part responsible for the defeat of the Union army at Chickamauga. It is suggested Grant otherwise would have arrived in season to avert the disaster which overtook Union forces. It is the most descriptive article I've come across related to this event and interestingly it states Grant's horse, which was loaned to him by General Banks, had also suffered an injury at the battle of Cedar Mountain. I'm not sure riding a previously injured horse in a race was ideal and I will link another thread with some details where Grant describes the horse as difficult to handle. I'm also not sure what Grant was thinking, but by all accounts he paid of high price for this act of bravado.

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Thanks to Laura for her input here once again!
 
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Here is the link I was promising on Grant's horsemanship (thread created by @lelliott19 ) with some linked articles to this incident also posted by @KansasFreestater (below is a portion of one of the articles).


"On Sept. 2, 1863, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant arrived in New Orleans for the sort of event he usually avoided — a full-dress military review, to be staged in his honor two days hence by Gen. Nathaniel Banks. Still savoring the fall of Vicksburg in early July, Grant was also anticipating a forthcoming campaign against the Confederate general Braxton Bragg that fall in eastern Tennessee. A victory there — especially at the vital city of Chattanooga — promised to open the way to Atlanta.
The grand review took place north of the city. Astride an unfamiliar horse he characterized as “vicious and but little used,” Grant set his customary fast pace, leading one member of the party to later recall that “the brilliant cavalcade of generals and staff officers was left behind by the hero of Vicksburg.” After the review, the attending officers retired to a nearby establishment for food and drink before riding back to their hotel, again at speed. Then disaster struck.
Grant’s horse shied, probably at a locomotive whistle, and then fell on him. Gen. Lorenzo Thomas, who witnessed the accident, wrote that Grant’s horse “threw him over with great violence. The General, who is a splendid rider, maintained his seat in the saddle, and the horse fell upon him.” In his “Memoirs” written 20 years later, Grant described being “rendered insensible” and regaining consciousness “in a hotel nearby with several doctors attending me.” The damage was extensive. “My leg was swollen from the knee to the thigh, and the swelling … extended … up to the arm-pit,” remembered Grant. “The pain was almost beyond endurance.” Grant remained at his New Orleans hotel for more than a week before returning to Vicksburg, where he “remained unable to move for some time afterwards.”"

 
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Cavalry Charger

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I wish we knew the identity of the "young cavalry colonel, who was the owner of a Kentucky thoroughbred bay called Donna." Maybe he wrote about the incident?
Yes, that would be very interesting and it doesn't appear that his name is given in any of these articles. Though General Lorenzo Thomas is given as a witness to the accident. These other articles don't mention a race was taking place between Grant the young Colonel. So the article you shared definitely provides more details, Laura. Including the date, earlier injury to Grant's horse and the fact he was racing another rider rather than just riding recklessly. It's another one of those incidents previously filed under 'possible alcohol consumption', but there doesn't appear to be proof, only further hearsay.
 
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Thanks for bringing this up !

For years, I've been trying to corroborate a local story that General Grant spent a week or two recuperating in one of the few remaining "mansions" in my part of Mississippi during September 1863.

I always disregarded this as local myth.
A real estate gimmick perhaps.

(Much like every other little town in the USA that claims, George Washington slept here).

It made no sense.

But some of the "old timers" swore up & down it was a true story.

My first question has always been:
"Why in the world would Grant be anywhere near here at that time" ?

Then I read about the New Orleans horse accident.
After that, it started to become a little more believable.

We're only a few miles across the Louisiana border, and less than 100 miles from New Orleans.
Moreover, the railroad from New Orleans follows the exact same path as Interstate (I-55) from NOLA to Chicago today.

So . . . with that said . . . I'm starting to believe this is a plausible account of Grant's two week stay in my little part of the world.
 

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Here's another article, from The Times Dispatch of 1911. This one includes a few additional details about the events leading up to the race. Unfortunately, it does not identify the cavalry colonel.
View attachment 340893
So, Laura, now we have a name! "Donna" was owned and ridden by General James G. Wilson, who returned to New York by the sounds of things after the war. Marvellous. We also have a slightly different version of the story with this race taking place a few days after a more 'impromptu horse race' or an incident where the steeds were running away with their riders - Grant and Banks. And the defeat at Chickamauga is mentioned again in relation to the incident. This is great stuff. Thanks for all your hard work!
 
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lelliott19

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Donna" was owned and ridden by General James G. Wilson, who returned to New York by the sounds of things after the war.
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Colonel James Grant Wilson (LOC)
And he is the author of the first article - the one from the Daily Morning Journal and Courier, 1901 New Haven CT newspaper. :thumbsup: No wonder he didn't name the cavalry colonel . :bounce:
 
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I always disregarded this as local myth.
A real estate gimmick perhaps.

(Much like every other little town in the USA that claims, George Washington slept here).
:laugh:

But some of the "old timers" swore up & down it was a true story.

My first question has always been:
"Why in the world would Grant be anywhere near here at that time" ?
It took him a very long time to recuperate by the sounds of things. And the timeline is right ... being September.

So . . . with that said . . . I'm starting to believe this is a plausible account of Grant's two week stay in my little part of the world.
:smoke:
 
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And the timeline is right ... being September.
Exactly !

Actually I've never seen this house.

It's way off the "beaten path" as far as today's roads are built.
I thought I'd driven by the home, but that was discovered to be a similar styled home built around 1905.

I've asked at least four people for directions to this home , and I've received four different maps.

I still never found it.

:bounce:
 
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So, this discussion reminds me of something that I read in Julia Grant's memoir.

In this particular section of the memoir, the Grants had left the White House and they were on their tour around the world. They were riding horses through the Middle East. The Turkish governor had just presented the Grants with fresh horses:

Per her memoir:

"The General was delighted at getting a fresh horse and was impatient to be off, but I was rather timid about mounting the one sent for me, a great, fiery, dappled-gray stallion. I was hesitating and was making some little trouble about mounting when the General impatiently accused me of affectation, saying, "Do mount and do not be absurd, Julia." I did mount and sincerely wished as I did so that the horrid brute would run away with me, dash me over a precipice, and thus cause my husband to remember with regret his want of sympathy. Affectation, indeed! But I was not thrown over the precipice. I arrived safely, without even a jolt, though my horse would not allow anyone to ride near me, feeling no doubt that he was carrying some precious burden - at least, one unusual to his back - as every once in a while he would turn his head and look me squarely in the face with such an intelligent and amused look. I thought he meant to say, "Do not be afraid, no one shall approach you."

She wrote some more about how the General rode "far in advance" of her. She said, "I had purposely tarried with the young officers, still feeling some indignation at the General."
 
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So, this discussion reminds me of something that I read in Julia Grant's memoir.

In this particular section of the memoir, the Grants had left the White House and they were on their tour around the world. They were riding horses through the Middle East. The Turkish governor had just presented the Grants with fresh horses:

Per her memoir:

"The General was delighted at getting a fresh horse and was impatient to be off, but I was rather timid about mounting the one sent for me, a great, fiery, dappled-gray stallion. I was hesitating and was making some little trouble about mounting when the General impatiently accused me of affectation, saying, "Do mount and do not be absurd, Julia." I did mount and sincerely wished as I did so that the horrid brute would run away with me, dash me over a precipice, and thus cause my husband to remember with regret his want of sympathy. Affectation, indeed! But I was not thrown over the precipice. I arrived safely, without even a jolt, though my horse would not allow anyone to ride near me, feeling no doubt that he was carrying some precious burden - at least, one unusual to his back - as every once in a while he would turn his head and look me squarely in the face with such an intelligent and amused look. I thought he meant to say, "Do not be afraid, no one shall approach you."

She wrote some more about how the General rode "far in advance" of her. She said, "I had purposely tarried with the young officers, still feeling some indignation at the General."
I love, love, love this story! Julia is so indignant as to go so far as wanting to 'punish' Ulysses by having her horse ride over a precipice :eek:
She wanted him to 'remember with regret his want of sympathy'! The horse she finally managed to mount was much more sympathetic by the sounds of things and I don't think it would have let Ulysses near her :laugh:
 
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lelliott19

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So, this discussion reminds me of something that I read in Julia Grant's memoir.

In this particular section of the memoir, the Grants had left the White House and they were on their tour around the world. They were riding horses through the Middle East. The Turkish governor had just presented the Grants with fresh horses:

Per her memoir:

"The General was delighted at getting a fresh horse and was impatient to be off, but I was rather timid about mounting the one sent for me, a great, fiery, dappled-gray stallion.
I wonder if these are the same horses he and Julia rode in Turkey? "General Grant has entered his pair of gray Arabian ponies, presented to him by the Sultan of Turkey."
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Savannah Morning News., October 23, 1883, page 1.
 
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