Longstreet and Horses

Quaama

Corporal
Joined
Sep 13, 2020
Location
Port Macquarie, Australia
About a week ago I posted a thread about horse racing in the Civil War which attached this article. I quoted some parts from the article and asked if anyone had any additional information regarding Longstreet, especially in regards to the article's statement:
"Confederate General James Longstreet once bragged about being unbeaten in all types of races, including jumping and other varied competitions, such as the steeplechase".

I didn't get any additional information so I now bring it to the attention of you Longstreet experts (I understand some of you are also members of the Longstreet Society).

What is known about Longstreet and horse racing and was he "unbeaten in all types of races"?
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Location
central NC
Great topic @Quaama and one I wish I could fully address. The sad truth is I have limited knowledge on this aspect of the general. I have read that one of his few commonalities with his good friend, US Grant, was a love for horses over people and I have also read some vague accounts of him participating in horse races/horse jumping around camp. Equestrian sports were no doubt an important part of life at West Point and General Longstreet was known to be very athletic. I seem to recall one reference to his "heavy seat" on a horse and how that limited him from participating in jumping competitions around camp.

I hope someone else will come along and contribute more. Shout-out to @War Horse and @FarawayFriend . I am a member of the Longstreet Society so if I turn something up there I will certainly pass it along.
 
Joined
Aug 25, 2013
Location
Hannover, Germany
I agree with @Eleanor Rose - James Longstreet was too tall and heavy a man to be a successful jockey.
I have also never heard that he bragged about being unbeaten in horse races.
There was a famous American racehorse by the name of Longstreet, though, a champion racer...
Snip-it_1603229548173.jpg

Source

The article from history.net does not give a source, so I daresay somebody mixed up the General with the horse ...
 

Quaama

Corporal
Joined
Sep 13, 2020
Location
Port Macquarie, Australia
I agree with @Eleanor Rose - James Longstreet was too tall and heavy a man to be a successful jockey.
I have also never heard that he bragged about being unbeaten in horse races.
There was a famous American racehorse by the name of Longstreet, though, a champion racer...
View attachment 379034
Source

The article from history.net does not give a source, so I daresay somebody mixed up the General with the horse ...

Due to his build, I could not perceive him as a champion in the saddle either although he may well have had a strong interest in equestrian sports (as did many others).

Mixing up the General with the horse sound quite possible to me too. There was also a General Longstreet horse here in Australia - not a very good one (it's sole win was in my home town).
 

War Horse

Captain
Member of the Year
Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Joined
Sep 4, 2014
Location
Lexington, SC
General Longstreet had a love for horses and admired U.S Grant for his skills with horses. He loved his war time mount Hero very much. I have a painting of he and Hero together. I recall reading he would not tolerate someone mistreating a horse. However I never read anything beyond that. If he were a gifted equestrian I’m sure we would have discovered it by now. He was certainly skilled in the saddle which is proven by his ability to maneuver around the battlefield on horseback.
 

NH Civil War Gal

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 5, 2017
"At West Point, Grant’s skill in the saddle wowed his peers and instructors alike. “In horsemanship,” said James Longstreet (a classmate and future Confederate general), “…he was noted as the most proficient in the Academy. In fact, rider and horse held together like the fabled centaur.”

I know this is about Longstreet, but @War Horse mentioned how Longstreet admired Grant's handling of horses, so I thought I'd through this in.
 

MsGenlL

Cadet
Joined
Jan 25, 2016
Actually, there was a bit written by one of Longstreet's staff about regular jumping contests during down hours that Longstreet won on a regular basis despite his size. The gentleman was John Cheves Haskell, and he was serving under Gen. Johnston while Longstreet impressed him. He wrote,

"While the army was idle at Centerville, almost every afternoon a party met at Longstreet's headquarters to practice jumping our horses. Each one who got a fall paid a forfeit which was spent for the entertainment and amusement of the club, of which Longstreet was the head. He was a heavy man, weighing then not less than 200 pounds, and rode a large bay horse which had much the appearance of the finer express-wagon horses of today. He was a thoroughbred and the finest jumper in the army, carrying Longstreet over anything that any of the lightweights could take, and we never got a forfeit from Longstreet."

I doubt Longstreet was undefeated in any races and from what I understand his horses were likely very nice but not considered tops in the ANV. I read that his aide-de-camp, Walter Fairfax had a racing stable and rode a gorgeous white Arabian named Saltron until the horse was killed in battle. Longstreet never wrote about his horses, but the standout was Hero, who I suspect may have been killed at the Wilderness, although I'm not sure. Lee sent Longstreet another "blooded" stallion, Fly-By-Night, who had been captured in a battle (probably more like confiscated from his owner who was captured) to entice Longstreet to return to the Army in September, 1864. Longstreet returned in October.

I read that the ANV had a horse judging committee because all the officer's mounts had to be appraised from time to time. If the horse was killed in battle the officer could be reimbursed, which explains the need for appraisals. I believe it is from one of Gen. Porter Alexander's books.
 

Georgia

Sergeant
About a week ago I posted a thread about horse racing in the Civil War which attached this article. I quoted some parts from the article and asked if anyone had any additional information regarding Longstreet, especially in regards to the article's statement:
"Confederate General James Longstreet once bragged about being unbeaten in all types of races, including jumping and other varied competitions, such as the steeplechase".

I didn't get any additional information so I now bring it to the attention of you Longstreet experts (I understand some of you are also members of the Longstreet Society).

What is known about Longstreet and horse racing and was he "unbeaten in all types of races"?
Other than his horse being named “Hero”- I don’t recall anything specific coming to mind when we lived on what had been his vineyard in Gainesville, Ga.

I’m only finding flighting mentions of riding when he was growing up on his Uncle’s plantation in Augusta and then again when discussing his not so glowing academic career. Horsemanship was mentioned as something being more important to him than academics.
This blurb mentions that Longstreet talked about his prowess on riding.

https://www.historynet.com/off-running-americas-passion-horse-racing.htm

It’ll be interesting to hear what those from the LS have to say-
 

Pete Longstreet

First Sergeant
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Location
Hartford, CT
Longstreet was known to boast a little... but nonetheless, he was a skilled horseman. He made mention of when he was on his way to General Bragg's HQ just before Chickamauga, he ended up getting lost and encountered Union pickets. He then said how he was able to maneuver through the thick woods in the dark on horseback. He also told of a time when he was mounting his horse and Lee came over to assist him up and onto the saddle. Longsstreet said he has never needed any help mounting a horse and Lee was just being polite. I personally don't know of him participating in any actual horse races.
 

MsGenlL

Cadet
Joined
Jan 25, 2016
Actually, Longstreet did not grow up on his uncle's plantation, which now, by the way, is part of the PGA golf course in Augusta. Historians have his childhood wrong, as it was his cousin James that grew up at Westover and attended Richmond Academy. Longstreet stayed with his mother and lived in Alabama for a few years then back to Augusta for a couple more before leaving for the USMA.

I recommend looking up his uncle Augustus. He graduated from Yale, was President of several colleges, influenced Mark Twain in writing and was a Methodist minister among other things. His uncle is great evidence that Longstreet was not a country bumpkin as some historians have written.

I've never heard of the reference of Lee helping Longstreet mount his horse. I'd love to read about that.
 

Georgia

Sergeant
Actually, Longstreet did not grow up on his uncle's plantation, which now, by the way, is part of the PGA golf course in Augusta. Historians have his childhood wrong, as it was his cousin James that grew up at Westover and attended Richmond Academy. Longstreet stayed with his mother and lived in Alabama for a few years then back to Augusta for a couple more before leaving for the USMA.

I recommend looking up his uncle Augustus. He graduated from Yale, was President of several colleges, influenced Mark Twain in writing and was a Methodist minister among other things. His uncle is great evidence that Longstreet was not a country bumpkin as some historians have written.

I've never heard of the reference of Lee helping Longstreet mount his horse. I'd love to read about that.
Interesting info. By chance do you remember where you learned about the mistake concerning where Longstreet was brought up?
Several of the references I’ve seen/read have shared the same Augusta storyline. I’d be quite interested in reading the information you’re sharing.
 

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
Actually, Longstreet did not grow up on his uncle's plantation, which now, by the way, is part of the PGA golf course in Augusta. Historians have his childhood wrong, as it was his cousin James that grew up at Westover and attended Richmond Academy. Longstreet stayed with his mother and lived in Alabama for a few years then back to Augusta for a couple more before leaving for the USMA.

I recommend looking up his uncle Augustus. He graduated from Yale, was President of several colleges, influenced Mark Twain in writing and was a Methodist minister among other things. His uncle is great evidence that Longstreet was not a country bumpkin as some historians have written.

I've never heard of the reference of Lee helping Longstreet mount his horse. I'd love to read about that.
I would also like to know . I have Jeffry Wert's biography on Longstreet and he states that Longstreet's mother passed out of his life after moving to Alabama.
 

Pete Longstreet

First Sergeant
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Location
Hartford, CT
Interesting info. By chance do you remember where you learned about the mistake concerning where Longstreet was brought up?
Several of the references I’ve seen/read have shared the same Augusta storyline. I’d be quite interested in reading the information you’re sharing.
Longstreet was born in South Carolina, but moved to Augusta, GA when he was very young and considered this his adopted home. Augusta is where he went to school and spent most of his childhood. When Longstreet was 12, his father passed away. Shortly thereafter, his mother moved the family to North Alabama. At 16, Longstreet applied to West Point and with the help of a Congressman, his application was accepted and he entered the class of 1838. Longstreet was admitted to West Point via Alabama, but he, along with his peers, considered him a Georgian.
 

Georgia

Sergeant
Longstreet was born in South Carolina, but moved to Augusta, GA when he was very young and considered this his adopted home. Augusta is where he went to school and spent most of his childhood. When Longstreet was 12, his father passed away. Shortly thereafter, his mother moved the family to North Alabama. At 16, Longstreet applied to West Point and with the help of a Congressman, his application was accepted and he entered the class of 1838. Longstreet was admitted to West Point via Alabama, but he, along with his peers, considered him a Georgian.
That’s the information I’ve found as well. However, MsGenIL states that was incorrect and actually her research shows him living with his Mother in his youth.
So, there are several of us who are now inquiring as to where and who might’ve written the “Different” info and where to go to view it.
 

Pete Longstreet

First Sergeant
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Location
Hartford, CT
That’s the information I’ve found as well. However, MsGenIL states that was incorrect and actually her research shows him living with his Mother in his youth.
So, there are several of us who are now inquiring as to where and who might’ve written the “Different” info and where to go to view it.
That information I posted was directly from Longstreet's memoirs. I was looking at the page in his memoir book as I was typing. Is @MsGenlL indicating that his memoirs are incorrect?
 

Georgia

Sergeant
That information I posted was directly from Longstreet's memoirs. I was looking at the page in his memoir book as I was typing. Is @MsGenlL indicating that his memoirs are incorrect?
Yes, her post is further up the thread. Sorry, I’m still learning how to maneuver the forum platform or I’d link or here. Please refer to post #12 in this thread for the information being shared.
 

Pete Longstreet

First Sergeant
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Location
Hartford, CT
Yes, her post is further up the thread. Sorry, I’m still learning how to maneuver the forum platform or I’d link or here. Please refer to post #12 in this thread for the information being shared.
I actually saw that post. From what I gathered, he was living in Alabama with his mother, when accepted into West Point at the age of 16. But he didn't actually go to West Point until he turned 17, so he might have moved back to Augusta in between, but I'm not sure.
 
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