Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day Remembrances

Here on Memorial Day weekend, I wanted to take this opportunity to honor all those who fought in the War Between the States, for the the Union and the Confederacy. I can say with certainty that almost all were willing to die to preserve or build their country as they felt was best. And I respect that uprightness and strength of character about these men and their families.

In a search I was doing, I came across Traveller, and I thought it appropriate to remember him as well. After all, the 8th Missouri was a cavalry unit, and I'm sure many of the men felt a good connection with their mount as well. I wanted to include a quote from General R.E. Lee regarding Traveller that I really enjoyed.

If I was an artist like you, I would draw a true picture of Traveller; representing his fine proportions, muscular figure, deep chest, short back, strong haunches, flat legs, small head, broad forehead, delicate ears, quick eye, small feet, and black mane and tail. Such a picture would inspire a poet, whose genius could then depict his worth, and describe his endurance of toil, hunger, thirst, heat and cold; and the dangers and suffering through which he has passed. He could dilate upon his sagacity and affection, and his invariable response to every wish of his rider. He might even imagine his thoughts through the long night-marches and days of the battle through which he has passed. But I am no artist Markie, and can therefore only say he is a Confederate
gray. Robert E. Lee, letter to Markie Williams

That is pretty neat can tell what the good General thought of his horse. Here is a nice poem written later about Traveller.

And now at last,
Comes Traveller and his master. Look at them well.
The horse is an iron-grey, sixteen hands high,
Short back, deep chest, strong haunch, flat legs, small head,
Delicate ear, quick eye, black mane and tail,
Wise brain, obedient mouth.
Such horses are
The jewels of the horseman's hands and thighs,
They go by the word and hardly need the rein.
They bred such horses in Virginia then,
Horses that were remembered after death
And buried not so far from Christian ground
That if their sleeping riders should arise
They could not witch them from the earth again
And ride a printless course along the grass
With the old manage and light ease of hand.
— Passage from Army of Northern Virginia, by Stephen Vincent Benet


Anonymous said...

Hi Brent,

This is one of my favorite photographs of Robert E. Lee and Traveller. While playing "Stick horse" as a boy, I rode side by side with Robert E. Lee, Jeb Stuart, and of course Stonewall Jackson. My horse was never as noble as Traveller but "Old Dan" was "A Show Me" horse capable of galloping all day and night and of carrying his master home without fail! He was a magnificent bay, earth colored with black mane and tail, black stocking feet and a single White star in his forehead!

CSA Brent said...

Dad...look at my recent post on the Harty Family History site. See what you think about this horse, if it fits your description.