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 '.
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.
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.
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.
" Cutters ', sleighs appear a LOT in the accident columns.
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.
Getting long and I won't beat a dead, well, you know- very good piece of exasperated snark from 1864.