Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
We love images from the past, horse and buggies, carriages with four good 'uns moving across the page in nostalgic cooperation, heck, stagecoaches, six determined horse apparently willing to be pointed forward by the scrap of humanity perched precariously behind is iconic. It frequently all went horribly wrong.
Not sure this thread should be in a forum on four footed friends of the war, said friends in this thread had 4 legs but behaved in a way you'd object to in an enemy. Had a look at this before, worth revisiting- was unaware how frequent were these accidents.
Before cars guaranteed the accidents inevitable when rocketing down a road , en mass at speed , horse transportation was our means of getting most places. Alternatives were taking a train or walking, train derailments and collisions made the news. Must have been a little rare seeing anyone come to serious harm, walking. You bump into someone, say excuse me and no one contacts the insurance company.
From an era magazine, her accident was barely reported- Lee was on his way to Gettysburg.
Mary Todd Lincoln's serious injuries when thrown from her carriage after the horse bolted on DC streets went almost unreported. Lee's invasion riveted public interest in summer, 1863. What's a concussed President's wife compared to an army's invasion? Hers was not singular nor as serious as many. Drivers, passengers and unlucky pedestrians joined Mary as accident victims and she joined a long, long list that must have begun when 5 minutes after some bright spark first got on a horse. You just know this unrecorded event did not go well.
The irresistible force paradox is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object ? For one thing, horses don't like it..... Between Hathitrust, NYPL and newspapers, we have reports and images from those Good Old Days when horses were the main source of transportation.
Washington, DC 1862
PA, 1861. Why the author assumed anyone just let go of the reins is a mystery.
Never drove a horse much less a pair. Horses are unpredictable when choosing what they object to or feel to be dragons ready to pounce. I'd rather be literally on top of the action, not dependent on arguing the point from behind through two, long leather strings. Our ancestors do not attract enough credit for sheer intrepidness- nearly all of them drove or at least got into a horse powered conveyance. It still did not always go well.
Like the child apparently run over in this image, fatalities sure were not uncommon.
Various inventions, contrivances and measures were suggested- unclear if any worked. Patent, mid century, solution being to leave passengers behind.
This is just one, patent from National Archives in the days you could find them there. Nearly all horse training manuals had a favorite, with more popping up in newspapers. No idea which, if any, worked.
We've read of various horses bolting during battle ( who could blame them ), Meade for instance having a tussle with his, bolting for Confederate lines at Gettysburg. There must be tales of artillery teams not loving the noise- even with postilions up, that'd be a lot of horseflesh to stop. If our the big, kooky dears bolted on the streets and lanes of our ancestors, the noise, terror and blood of a battlefield must have resulted in regular mayhem.
A ton more articles, have not posted some of the more gory and tragic. We get the idea.
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