"Restless" Warhorse of Col. Samuel Fowler 15th New Jersey


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Rysdyk's Hambletonian (1849-1876) the sire of "Restless" warhorse of Col. Samuel Fowler, 15th New Jersey by Courier and Ives 1876
Rysdyk's Hambletonian, an American trotting horse and the forefather of the standardbred horse breed, is shown here in a rare in-the-stable setting with his owner, William Rysdyk. Rysdyk's Hambletonian sired approximately 1,331 foals, including a brown gelding by the name of "Restless" who took part in more than 30 battles including Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Winchester, and Petersburg. Restless was wounded at Gettysburg and carried a scar for the remainder of his life. He died Thursday, October 31, 1889 at the age of 33.

When Colonel Samuel Fowler, the founder of Port Jervis, and at one time Chairman of the Democratic State Committee of New York, went to the war in 1862 at the head of the Fifteenth New Jersey Volunteers, a regiment recruited in his native county of Sussex, some of his friends in both States united in presenting him with a charger. They selected the 6 year old brown gelding Restless, by Rysdyk's Hambletonian and a Harry Clay mare, raised by George C. Shaw, of Newton, and already famous for style and speed. Colonel Fowler rode his young charger at the head of the gallant Fifteenth regiment through two hard-fought campaigns, and until he himself was constrained to retire from the service by the malady which afterward caused his death...


[Pittsburg Dispatch. (Pittsburg, PA), August 16, 1889, page 4.]

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y., Nov. 2.--The famous old war horse Restless has succumbed to the infirmities of age. He died on Thursday at the farm of the Rev. A.A. Haines, ex-Chaplain of the Fifteenth New-Jersey Volunteers, and a historian and antiquarian of note, at Hamburg, N.J. [New York Times, November 3, 1889.]

Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
May 5, 2017
Well now, who is chopping onions in this thread?? 33 is a right respectable age, and as I am finding, if the horse is kept well, and fed and excercised, they are useful in that age. We do not know how old my old mount is. He was not young when he was rescued, and he lost his sight a good 3 yrs ago. We think he still sees light/dark..but no fine focus. I miss riding him. He had a trot you could sit for years. We stopped riding him, because he kept falling. And while it was an unpleasant and painful fall for me, I was far more worried about the horse at the time. Our accident was the last time he was ridden. Now he hangs out in his stall, or in the square pen, with other horses who are not aggressive.


First Sergeant
May 29, 2019
Dublin, Ireland
Good story. I do like to read about famous military horses. Among the most famous would be Robert E Lee - Traveller , then from the Napoleonic wars Duke of Wellingtons - Copenhagen , Napoleons - Marengo. Is there any more famous Horses from the ACW.

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Feb 14, 2012
Central Pennsylvania
There can't be too many war horse threads. Hambletonian was such a huge, big deal, had no idea they took ' blood horses ' , one of his off-spring, to war!

33. That's amazing. @Mrs. V , your old boy must be 30-ish, right? Probably has a few nicely soft years left to hang out with you. Barn we go to just retired their 29 old who'd only been used as a beginner, 'walk, please ', lesson horse, 45 minutes a day. He's wonderful. I watched him take a nap one day between " whoa " and " walk ". He woke up for that.