Our Morgan Horses, Out Of Rienza'a Glass Case, Back In Time

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Thanks for the Morgan post. I have a soft spot in my heart for Morgans. My first introduction to horses was by a Morgan breeder. It always gives me pause when I explain that every horse that came of the useful age of 5 during the Civil War was the issue of a stallion that stood to a mare before 1860. There was no magic formula for hurrying the process. The pool of the ideal "Morgan-like" 16 hand horses for the artillery was especially hard hit.

"The cavalry uses up horses the same way the infantry uses up shoes." General Stanley.

Another limiting factor in the pool of available horses was mares that were pregnant or nursing a foal were not acceptable to the army. They really wanted geldings. In The Supply for Tomorrow Must Not Fail, The Civil War of Captain Simon Perkins, Jr., a Union Quartermaster by Lenette S. Taylor, the struggle the quartermasters in Nashville & Murfreesboro to remount Rosecrans' army in the winter-spring of 1863 is a constant theme. Dishonest buyers shipped whole carloads of pregnant mares, underage & broken down horses to Nashville. When the U.S. Quartermasters took over the purchasing, the supply of horses cleaned up overnight. Even so, managing the shipping sound horses southward on the N&C followed by receiving carloads of broken down animals up the line was a strain on facilities.

After the bottom fell out of the economy, a generation of horses in Middle Tennessee were turned out to pasture. Today, there are at least two breeding herds of feral horses in our county, according to local deputy sheriffs.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Dishonest buyers shipped whole carloads of pregnant mares, underage & broken down horses to Nashville.

It sounds like it was insane- I've run into quite a few government horse buying scam type reports in era papers. In one, the vets hired to examine horses before purchase were actually fired in order to slide unfit animals into lots.

Friend of mine has a Morgan, has had a series of them for 40 years. Goodness! There's a massive, huge difference in the breed even from a few decades ago- holy heck, from what it was? I call her current Morgan her fashion model, she's slim, elegant, kinda dainty, narrow chest, rather long head. She's lovely, you just couldn't see a cavalry regiment making it far mounted on today's Morgan.

From 1865- of course, there was also a huge blow-up during the war over what regiment went to war mounted on ' genuine ' Morgans and which were given horses somehow inferior.

Morgan 1865 news pic.jpg
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I confess that I did not recognize the Morgan I was shown recently. The horses that I knew as a child were the draft/riding Morgans that had been favored working horses in my father's day. Into the 1960's my great uncles plowed their gardens with a horse. I suppose there always was a difference between stock & riding Morgans. In this part of Middle Tennessee black & white walking horses are favored for trail rides. Belgian cross mules predominate. There is a lady who breeds a riding white with black spots. There are quite something to see. During the Civil War, it was the hyper local breeds like the spotted mule that went extinct.

Given your interest in original documents, The Supply for Tomorrow Must Not Fail by Lenette S. Taylor, Kent State University Press is something you want in your library. When Lenette was a grad student, she got a call to examine some boxes discovered in the attic of Quartermaster Captain Simon Perkins Jr.'s family home. He had been an army quartermaster in Nashville & Murfreesboro TN. An army quartermaster was not a career army position. They were civilians who answered not to Rosecrans, e.g., but directly to the Q.M. General in Washington. When he settled his books in 1864, he was supposed to burn the record. Instead, he kept his in the attic. Improbably, no squirrels or rats or leaks or fires destroyed them. When Lenette opened the boxes, she found bundles of documents tied up in faded red tape. She had never seen such a thing before & had to ask her advisor what it meant.

The Perkins archive is, as far as I know, the most complete record of its kind to survive the C.W. My copy of the book looks like a collection of Tibetan prayer flags because of all the postit notes sticking out of it.
 
Top