Baldy

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M E Wolf

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In the first great battle of the Civil War, at Bull Run, there was a bright bay horse, with white face and feet. His rider was seriously wounded. The horse was turned back to the quartermaster to recover from his wounds received that day. Later, in September, General Meade bought the horse and named him "Baldy." Though Meade became deeply attached to the horse, his staff officers soon began to complain of the peculiar pace of "Baldy," which was hard to follow. He had a racking gait that was faster than a walk and slow for a trot and compelled the staff, alternately, to trot and then to drop into a walk, causing great discomfort.

"Baldy's "war record was remarkable. He was wounded twice at the first battle of Bull Run; he was at the battle of Dranesville; he took part in two of the seven days' fighting around Richmond in the summer of 1862; at Groveton, August 29th, at the second battle of Bull Run; at South Mountain and at Antietam. In the last battle the gallant horse was left on the field as dead, but in the next Federal advance "Baldy" was discovered quietly grazing on the battle-ground, with a deep wound in his neck. He was tenderly cared for and soon was again fit for duty. He bore the general at the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. For two days "Baldy" was present at Gettysburg, where he received his most grievous wound from a bullet entering his body between the ribs, and lodging there. Meade would not part with the gallant horse, and kept him with the army until the following spring.

In the preparations of the Army of the Potomac for their last campaign, "Baldy" was sent to pasture at Downingtown, in Pennsylvania. After the surrender of Lee's army at Appomattox, Meade hurried to Philadelphia where he again met his faithful charger, fully recovered. For many years the horse and the general were inseparable companions, and when Meade died in 1872, the bullet-scarred war-horse followed the hearse. Ten years later "Baldy" died, and his head and two fore hoofs were mounted and are now cherished relics of the George G. Meade Post, Grand Army of the Republic, in Philadelphia.
 

Tom Elmore

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Meade rode "Blackey" on the third day at Gettysburg.
 
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peteanddelmar

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Though Meade became deeply attached to the horse, his staff officers soon began to complain of the peculiar pace of "Baldy," which was hard to follow. He had a racking gait that was faster than a walk and slow for a trot and compelled the staff, alternately, to trot and then to drop into a walk, causing great discomfort.
I have heard this described as a shambling trot. IDK Sherman had a horse that walked too fast also.
 

peteanddelmar

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I'm sure we have some "horse people" on the forums that can verify all this about the attachment to horses. With some of them living to age 30 and above and many obtained when the owner was a child it IS very hard to part with them.

Imagine sharing battle with one and then having to part with it!

But horses always bite me. I guess I'm a bad person. LOL
 
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M E Wolf

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The 'rambling' gait that is described could be that of a "Plantation Walker" or another American Gaited horse breed.

If memory serves me correctly, Lee's horse also caused problems for staff as Traveller was also a gaited horse. People feel that Traveller was an American Saddlebred Horse.

American Walking Horse;
Tennessee Walker Horse;
Plantation Walker Horse:
Missouri Fox Trotting Horse;
American Three Gaited Horse;
American Five Gated Horse;

Were the breeds that were established in that time. The Morgan Horse, The American Quarter-Horse (known better as a "Quarter-Mile Racer"); American Thoroughbred; American Standard-bred (trotter or pacer race horse); Arabian Horse were also established in the USA during the Civil War.

General Washington's horse "Nelson" was reported to be an Arabian.

M. E. Wolf
 
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