CANADIAN TYPES USED BY NORTHERN TROOPERS
This shot of Gen. Alfred Pleasonton was taken by photographer Timothy O’Sullivan in 1863 near Falmouth, Virginia. The horse is of rather heavy build, and the breeding is a little hard to pinpoint; there is Morgan influence and Thoroughbred too, but I also think Canadian and even possibly some draft. Whips are rarely seen in Civil War photos, but there is an off-side shot taken moments later showing the general holding one. The saddle is a McClellan and the bridle a regulation combination halter-bridle with noseband, but there is no bridoon.
Pleasonton was a career officer and one of the most effective of Union cavalry generals. He observed, “[Cavalry horses] would often endure thrice as much if people knew how to care for them. If infantrymen are on the march, a careful captain will see that his men, when a halt is made, are made to rest. [Their tack] is removed ... coffee is made, and when they start off again they are new men. Horses, on the contrary, are generally made to stand with saddles and bridles on, and very frequently a heavy man on top.”
This Canadian type belonged to a Captain Beckwith, an artillery corpsman of the Army of the Potomac; the horse is held in this 1864 shot by an African-American orderly. The Canadian horse is similar to the Morgan in outline but somewhat heavier, and they were especially sought for the artillery.