EQUUS - - Conformati­on Insights -

This is Grant’s fa­vorite horse, Cincin­nati, a son of Lex­ing­ton. Cincin­nati was given to Grant as a gift from an ad­mirer—a man upon his deathbed

who de­clared, “I would like to give you what I be­lieve to be the great­est horse in the world.” As I have re­peat­edly pointed out, Amer­i­cans in the 19th cen­tury were not ter­ri­bly con­cerned with pedi­gree or “pa­pers,” and con­sis­tent with this is the fact that Grant never wrote down the name of Cincin­nati’s dam—if in­deed he even knew it—so that the whole distaff side of his pedi­gree is unknown. Lex­ing­ton traces back in sire line to Sir Archy and im­ported Diomed and was out of Alice Carneal who traces in sire line to Eclipse.

Lex­ing­ton’s tail-fe­male goes to Old Bald Peg, which tends to cor­rob­o­rate ob­servers’ re­ports that Cincin­nati was a fast horse. A brown bay, he stood fully 17 hands, with con­for­ma­tion beau­ti­ful and ex­cel­lent at ev­ery point; Grant con­sid­ered him to be the best horse he had ever seen. At one point the gen­eral was of­fered $10,000 for him in gold but re­fused. Grant rode Cincin­nati through­out the lat­ter half of the war and at Lee’s sur­ren­der at Ap­po­mat­tox. Af­ter Grant be­came Pres­i­dent, Cincin­nati was sta­bled at the White House.

Brig. Gen. John A. Rawl­ins, a mem­ber of Grant’s staff and later his Sec­re­tary of War, owned this well-con­formed Thor­ough­bred, who was prob­a­bly about 3 years old when this im­age was taken. The lit­tle boy rides bare­back, in a bit­less jump­ing hack­amore. We do not know this horse’s name or whether he sur­vived the war.

This ex­cel­lent charger, be­long­ing to Brig. Gen. Daniel But­ter­field, was also prob­a­bly full Thor­ough­bred. Like Cincin­nati, this horse shows big, pow­er­ful haunches, a shapely neck of just the right length, sub­stan­tial limbs and ex­cel­lent knees and hocks. But­ter­field was the son of a wealthy banker and he grew up as a city kid; he was an in­fantry­man and not as skill­ful a rider as many other high-level Civil War of­fi­cers.

Ca­reer Army of­fi­cer Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker mod­els a “schooled” seat and po­si­tion. He is strik­ing a pose, of course, for the old-fash­ioned long­ex­po­sure cam­era and thus sits a bit stiffly. Note the very kind hand on the curb rein. The horse is a Thor­ough­bred-Mor­gan mix of su­pe­rior type. Note the long, oblique shoul­der, shapely neck, strong back, ex­cel­lent sub­stance and well-formed and “dry” joints. His best fea­ture is a won­der­ful head.

Maj. Gen. Ru­fus In­galls, Quar­ter­mas­ter Gen­eral of the Union Army, was short in stature; to make him­self look taller in the sad­dle, he al­ways wore a tall hat and short boots. His horse was sized to match, prob­a­bly not over 15 hands but of ex­cel­lent make. Here we be­gin to see more Mor­gan in­flu­ence in the Mor­ganThor­ough­bred cross that was con­sid­ered to be the ideal of­fi­cer’s charger. Like But­ter­field, In­galls was city-raised and not a very skill­ful rider.

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