Tuesday, October 28, 2008

General Lee Talks About Traveller and His Other Mounts

If I were an artist like you I would draw a true picture of Traveller--representing his fine proportions, muscular figure, deep chest andshort back, strong haunches, flat legs, small head, broad forehead,delicate ears, quick eye, small feet, and black mane and tail. Sucha picture would inspire a poet, whose genius could then depict hisworth and describe his endurance of toil, hunger, thirst, heat, cold,and the dangers and sufferings through which he passed. He could dilate upon his sagacity and affection, and his invariable responseto every wish of his rider. He might even imagine his thoughts, throughthe long night marches and days of battle through which he has passed. But I am no artist; I can only say he is a Confederate gray. I purchased him in the mountains of Virginia in the autumn of 1861, and he has been my patient follower ever since--to Georgia, the Carolinas,and back to Virginia. He carried me through the Seven Days battlea round Richmond, the second Manassas, at Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg,the last day at Chancellorsville, to Pennsylvania, at Gettysburg, and back to the Rappahannock.

From the commencement of the campaign in 1864 at Orange, till its close around Petersburg, the saddle was scarcely off his back, as he passed through the fire of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbour, and across the James River. He was almost in daily requisition in the winter of 1864-65 on the long line of defenses from Chickahominy, north of Richmond, to Hatcher's Run, south of the Appomattox.

In the campaign of 1865, he bore me from Petersburg to the final days at Appomattox Court House. You must know the comfort he is to me in my present retirement. He is well supplied with equipments. Two sets have been sent to him from England, one from the ladies of Baltimore, and one was made for him in Richmond; but I think his favourite is the American saddle from St. Louis.

Of all his companions in toil, 'Richmond,' 'Brown Roan,' 'Ajax,' and quiet 'Lucy Long,' he is the only one that retained his vigour. The first two expired under their onerous burden, and the last two failed. You can, I am sure, from what I have said, paint his portrait."