UNION THOROUGHBRED TYPES
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.