Another Runaway Team And Mary Todd Lincoln's Leap For Her Life, July, 1863

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
runaway hyde park.JPG

Image is of a runaway team in Hyde Park, run into water on purpose as the only way to slow it down. Pretty ingenious really. Our ancestors feared a runaway team the same way, if not more than our era may fear a car wreck. Pre-war image from NYPL, can't find the story that goes with this particular incident. That's ok, there are a LOT more, like the day Mary Todd Lincoln leaped from her carriage as her horses nearly made of her yet another statistic.

Thread may belong elsewhere since it deviates from just Mrs. President, 1863, Mary Todd Lincoln. There are other threads on the topic, sorry to be repetitive. Mary Todd Lincoln's dreadful July, 1863 went almost unnoticed for obvious reasons. That it was a fairly common cause of death and injury has also been forgotten, around as swiftly as it took to figure out how to crank over a car engine.

Mary Todd Lincoln had already had an awful war by July 1863. Yes, before anyone points out what an awful war it was for everyone else, agreed- just because hers was not a singular story doesn't make it less tragic. Topping off the deaths of family members, losing their son Willie in early 1862 was simply shattering. By way of deliberately pulling herself out of a kind of bottomless mourning, Mary re-doubled her efforts on the part of sick and wounded soldiers. You hear little of this yet account after account after account exists. Wounded men whose bedsides she visited are the best sources. She was simply there alongside other women whose mission it was to alleviate suffering. It's what she'd been up to July 1st, 1863.

Returning to the Executive Mansion ( aka home ) after visiting The Soldier's Home, this. Article soft soaps her injuries quite a bit, the resultant concussion was followed by weeks of recovery. And no, there is simply no evidence the concussion had a thing to do with later accusations Mary Todd Lincoln was ' crazy '.

accident news.JPG


If you enter any of a number of words in a search, " runaway team ", " bolting horses ", " fearful accident carriage ' etc., you'll find almost daily wrecks like Mary Todd's and worse. Because horse transportation has vanished so has the memory of these much-dreaded accidents, almost less preventable than car accidents albeit not as likely to be fatal simply because speed wasn't the factor it is with cars. Less preventable because even the best trained horse is unpredictable while cars in general are not.

The Evening Star's account, squished between stories devoted to an invasion in Pennsylvania and Vicksburg's ' latest '. You can see why the story of one woman's accident, be she never so famousm would be missed.
accident news evening star 1.JPG
accident news evening star 2.JPG


It's funny. You can find a ton of information alllll about Mary Todd Lincoln, her ' craziness ', her witchiness, her apparently terrible marriage, blah blah blah. Nearly nothing about the carriage accident that seriously injured her- remember Seward, when attacked that awful night in 1865 was in bed recovering from his own carriage wreck.

It was sincerely a ' thing ', something much dreaded to the point where every, single book on horse training devoted a chapter to ' runaways ' and inventions like the one below passed through our patent office on a regular basis.
runaway invention crop.jpg


Maybe it all hasn't passed as swiftly from memory as I stated, either. There's a famously treacherous hill in Exmoor, Somerset called Porlock Hill. At the bottom exists a perfectly ancient pub, The Ship, ( where Samuel Taylor Coleridge was interrupted while grappling with writing passages for Kubla Khan, 1797, retaliating with his savage " Person From Porlock " poem ). It was a stage stop- stories of ancient and deadly wrecks were still told ( honest ) when I lived there. Hill is so steep a runaway team was simply unstoppable.

You see newspaper reports during the war, like one from Manassas of bolting, green cavalry horses and men being carried towards enemy lines by terrified animals. I can't find one where horse artillery were runaways although that seems inevitable despite heavy loads, maybe more so on steep hills.

Here's an era pile-up, holy heck.
runaway cutter 1.JPG
runaway cutter 2.JPG

runaway off bridge 2.jpg

" Cutters ', sleighs appear a LOT in the accident columns.


runaway cutter 3.JPG
runaway cutter 4.JPG


Found this, from years post war, in one of those collections of clippings on LoC- doesn't say what date. I still can't find a really comprehensive account, this isn't quite accurate but at least fleshes things out a little more.
runaway man obit.JPG


Getting long and I won't beat a dead, well, you know- very good piece of exasperated snark from 1864.
runaway how to stop.JPG
runaway how to stop 2.JPG
 

connecticut yankee

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 2, 2017
View attachment 365998
Image is of a runaway team in Hyde Park, run into water on purpose as the only way to slow it down. Pretty ingenious really. Our ancestors feared a runaway team the same way, if not more than our era may fear a car wreck. Pre-war image from NYPL, can't find the story that goes with this particular incident. That's ok, there are a LOT more, like the day Mary Todd Lincoln leaped from her carriage as her horses nearly made of her yet another statistic.

Thread may belong elsewhere since it deviates from just Mrs. President, 1863, Mary Todd Lincoln. There are other threads on the topic, sorry to be repetitive. Mary Todd Lincoln's dreadful July, 1863 went almost unnoticed for obvious reasons. That it was a fairly common cause of death and injury has also been forgotten, around as swiftly as it took to figure out how to crank over a car engine.

Mary Todd Lincoln had already had an awful war by July 1863. Yes, before anyone points out what an awful war it was for everyone else, agreed- just because hers was not a singular story doesn't make it less tragic. Topping off the deaths of family members, losing their son Willie in early 1862 was simply shattering. By way of deliberately pulling herself out of a kind of bottomless mourning, Mary re-doubled her efforts on the part of sick and wounded soldiers. You hear little of this yet account after account after account exists. Wounded men whose bedsides she visited are the best sources. She was simply there alongside other women whose mission it was to alleviate suffering. It's what she'd been up to July 1st, 1863.

Returning to the Executive Mansion ( aka home ) after visiting The Soldier's Home, this. Article soft soaps her injuries quite a bit, the resultant concussion was followed by weeks of recovery. And no, there is simply no evidence the concussion had a thing to do with later accusations Mary Todd Lincoln was ' crazy '.

View attachment 365990

If you enter any of a number of words in a search, " runaway team ", " bolting horses ", " fearful accident carriage ' etc., you'll find almost daily wrecks like Mary Todd's and worse. Because horse transportation has vanished so has the memory of these much-dreaded accidents, almost less preventable than car accidents albeit not as likely to be fatal simply because speed wasn't the factor it is with cars. Less preventable because even the best trained horse is unpredictable while cars in general are not.

The Evening Star's account, squished between stories devoted to an invasion in Pennsylvania and Vicksburg's ' latest '. You can see why the story of one woman's accident, be she never so famousm would be missed.
View attachment 365988View attachment 365989

It's funny. You can find a ton of information alllll about Mary Todd Lincoln, her ' craziness ', her witchiness, her apparently terrible marriage, blah blah blah. Nearly nothing about the carriage accident that seriously injured her- remember Seward, when attacked that awful night in 1865 was in bed recovering from his own carriage wreck.

It was sincerely a ' thing ', something much dreaded to the point where every, single book on horse training devoted a chapter to ' runaways ' and inventions like the one below passed through our patent office on a regular basis.
View attachment 365991

Maybe it all hasn't passed as swiftly from memory as I stated, either. There's a famously treacherous hill in Exmoor, Somerset called Porlock Hill. At the bottom exists a perfectly ancient pub, The Ship, ( where Samuel Taylor Coleridge was interrupted while grappling with writing passages for Kubla Khan, 1797, retaliating with his savage " Person From Porlock " poem ). It was a stage stop- stories of ancient and deadly wrecks were still told ( honest ) when I lived there. Hill is so steep a runaway team was simply unstoppable.

You see newspaper reports during the war, like one from Manassas of bolting, green cavalry horses and men being carried towards enemy lines by terrified animals. I can't find one where horse artillery were runaways although that seems inevitable despite heavy loads, maybe more so on steep hills.

Here's an era pile-up, holy heck.
View attachment 365992View attachment 365993
View attachment 365997
" Cutters ', sleighs appear a LOT in the accident columns.


View attachment 365994View attachment 365995

Found this, from years post war, in one of those collections of clippings on LoC- doesn't say what date. I still can't find a really comprehensive account, this isn't quite accurate but at least fleshes things out a little more.
View attachment 365999

Getting long and I won't beat a dead, well, you know- very good piece of exasperated snark from 1864.
View attachment 366001View attachment 366000
Great post! Jumping or falling from a runaway carriage must be similiar to the horrid experience today of jumping or falling out of a moving automobile. Terrifying. And those people who tried to stop a runaway carriage to save passengers inside? Pin a medal on their chests immediately! Mary Lincoln certainly didn't need or deserve her unfortunate jumping out experience.
 

Poorville

Corporal
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Hi JPK Huson

The incident regarding the first illustration, occurred in Hyde Park, London and was reported thus in the Evening Mail, “Rotten Row Equestrians,” November 29, 1802, p. 3. As you'll see, it didn't have a happy ending.

One accident among the many reported in Rotten Row happened on Sunday, 29 November 1802, about two in the afternoon when a gentleman by the name of Dutens entered Hyde Park through the Piccadilly Gate with his groom. Dutens was driving a curricle (a two-wheeled carriage pulled by two blood horses trotting side by side). Unfortunately, as the horses’ heads turned towards Rotten Row the traces broke and the off-horse got tangled in them and began to gallop. The Evening Mail reported:

“[Dutens] endeavored to curb the impetuosity of the animals, but in the attempt, the reins were broken. The groom finding it impossible to stop the horses, jumped out of the curricle, after having repeatedly advised his master to do the same.”

The horses were by now rushing unchecked towards the Serpentine River and upon reaching it they, the curricle, and Dutens plunged into the water. There were some witnesses in the immediate area, and they hastened to the spot to render aid. Dutens was by this time “uttering piercing cries” for help as he was unable to save himself being encumbered by a heavy driving coat. Fortunately, an unnamed gentleman jumped into the water, caught the skirts of Dutens’ coat, and with some difficulty drug him to shore.

In the meantime, the curricle was stuck in seven feet of water. The horses were frantic by this time, kicking and plunging desperately in an attempt to free themselves from the carriage. Unfortunately, they could not be saved and both drowned. The paper also reported that “this is another instance of the dangerous consequences likely to result from the introduction of blood-horses in harness.”
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
In the meantime, the curricle was stuck in seven feet of water. The horses were frantic by this time, kicking and plunging desperately in an attempt to free themselves from the carriage. Unfortunately, they could not be saved and both drowned. The paper also reported that “this is another instance of the dangerous consequences likely to result from the introduction of blood-horses in harness.

THAT is awesome, thank you! I'd read somewhere the water was on purpose, when trying to track it down.Made sense to me since it would work. What a horrendous series of events. I've never had a lot of interest in driving solely because you're so far behind the action- there's simply not a lot you can do. I love that there's a reference to why it probably happened, using blood horses for carriage work. ALL my respect there for anyone who did anyway.
 
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Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
This last week while we were on Mackinac Island, we had the chance to rent a carriage and drive it around the coast. It was amazing, but I sure can see how hard it would be to stop a team if they took it into thier heads to run away.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
This last week while we were on Mackinac Island, we had the chance to rent a carriage and drive it around the coast. It was amazing, but I sure can see how hard it would be to stop a team if they took it into thier heads to run away.


You were there? News did a piece on it opening to tourists- sounded excellently done, taking no chances yet preserving the experience. They interviewed the owner of the ferry who appears to be nobody's fool- seemed careful, professional and taking it one day at a time. How was it?
 

Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
You were there? News did a piece on it opening to tourists- sounded excellently done, taking no chances yet preserving the experience. They interviewed the owner of the ferry who appears to be nobody's fool- seemed careful, professional and taking it one day at a time. How was it?
We had nice weather, although it was hot and humid. We were masked, even in our period attire. We saw quite a few people without masks, which made me very sad. All the interpreters had masks, and they were distancing. The drive along the coastline was lovely. Very peaceful.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
We had nice weather, although it was hot and humid. We were masked, even in our period attire. We saw quite a few people without masks, which made me very sad. All the interpreters had masks, and they were distancing. The drive along the coastline was lovely. Very peaceful.


You could tell the locals were worried about the possibility of people who did not intend to wear masks. What for the tourist would be some statement is someone else's entire living and future, the whole thing could only work if folks behaved. They were already incredibly far behind, travel way down of course, distancing means less people per tour and it has to be that way. Those who don't mask threaten lives and make the possibility these places will survive at all more tenuous.

Boy do you get the whole experience! Just poked around in the topic of what it would be like wearing all that clothing during the summer. Goodness Mrs. V., that's dedication! They'd have kicked me out of the 19th century. :angel: Too few inches on the hemline in summer!
 
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