When Ben Butler's "Ebony" ran off with President Lincoln

John Hartwell

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General Benjamin F. Butler, when in command of the Army of the James, was the owner of two powerful horses, both above sixteen hands. One of these was a superb stallion called Ebony, the other a spirited sorrel named Warren.
In March, 1864, Butler's command was to be reviewed by the President, who rode Ebony, while the General was mounted on his other favorite warsteed, Warren. Whether Lincoln's horse was excited by the artillery, the inspiring notes of the military bands, or the enthusiastic cheers of the crowds of spectators, he bolted, and not even the great strength of the President could control the maddened charger, as faster and faster he dashed along the front of the army, Butler and the staff vainly attempting to overtake and stop the black steed in his wild course. At length an orderly, a private soldier, who was in the rear, discovering Lincoln's danger, and being mounted on an old race-horse with a record, put spurs to him, and, lying almost flat upon the racer's neck, speedily came to the front. He soon distanced General Butler and the other officers who were in pursuit, and, amid the wildest cheering from the thousands present, quickly came up with the runaway, seized the bit, and the President was saved from a fate that might have been even more serious than that which befell Grant [see Footnote] at New Orleans in the previous September. Lincoln's lost hat, trampled under foot by the horses of the pursuing cavalcade of generals with their staffs, was replaced by an army cap, and. the review completed without further incident.
[Footnote] The story of Grant's mishap is told in the thread:
 
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