General R. E. Lee's war-horses, Traveller and Lucy long.
The following communication from Major Thomas L. Broun
, Charleston, Kanawha county, West Virginia
, appeared in the Richmond Dispatch
August 10, 1886:
In view of the fact that great interest is felt in the monument about to be erected to General Lee, and that many are desirous that his war-horse should be represented in the monument, and as I once owned this horse, I herewith give you some items respecting this now famous war-horse, Traveller.
He was raised by Mr. Johnston, near the Blue Sulphur Springs, in Greenbrier county, Virginia (now West Virginia); was of the “Gray Eagle” stock, and, as a colt, took the first premium under the name of ‘Jeff Davis’ at the Lewisburg fairs for each of the years 1859 and 1860.
He was four years old in the spring of 1861.
When the Wise legion was encamped on Sewell mountain, opposing the advance of the Federal Army under Rosecranz, in the fall of 1861,
I was major to the Third regiment of infantry in that legion, and my brother, Captain Joseph M. Broun, was quartermaster to the same regiment.
I authorized my brother to purchase a good serviceable horse of the best Greenbrier stock for our use during the war.
After much inquiry and search he came across the horse above mentioned, and I purchased him for $175 (gold value), in the fall of 1861, from Captain James W. Johnston, son of the Mr. Johnston first above mentioned.
When the Wise legion was encamped about Meadow Bluff and Big Sewell mountains, I rode this horse, which was then greatly admired in camp for his rapid, springy walk, his high spirit, bold carriage, and muscular strength.
He needed neither whip nor spur, and would walk his five or six miles an hour over the rough mountain roads of Western Virginia with his rider sitting firmly in the saddle and holding him in check by a tight rein, such vim and eagerness did he manifest to go right ahead so soon as he was mounted.
When General Lee took command of the Wise legion and Floyd brigade that were encamped at and near Big Sewell mountains, in the fall of 1861, he first saw this horse, and took a great fancy to it. He called it his colt, and said that he would use it before the war was over.
Whenever the General saw my brother on this horse he had something pleasant to say to him about “my colt,” as he designated this horse.
As the winter approached, the climate in the West Virginia mountains caused Rosecranz's army to abandon its position on Big Sewell and retreat westward.
General Lee was thereupon ordered to South Carolina.
The Third regiment of the Wise legion was subsequently detached from the army in Western Virginia and ordered to the South Carolina coast, where it was known as the Sixtieth Virginia regiment, under Colonel Starke.
Upon seeing my brother on this horse near Pocotalipo, in South Carolina, General Lee at once recognized the horse, and again inquired of him pleasantly about “his colt.”
My brother then offered him the horse as a gift, which the General promptly declined, and at the same time remarked: “If you will willingly sell me the horse, I will gladly use it for a week or so to learn its qualities.”
Thereupon my brother had the horse sent to General Lee's stable.
In about a week the horse was returned to my brother, with a note from General Lee stating that the animal suited him, but that he could not longer use so valuable a horse in such times, unless it was his own; that if he (my brother) would not sell,
please to keep the horse, with many thanks.
This was in February, 1862.
At that time I was in Virginia, on the sick list from a long and severe attack of camp fever, contracted in the campaign on Big Sewell mountains.
My brother wrote me of General Lee's desire to have the horse, and asked me what he should do. I replied at once: “If he will not accept it, then sell it to him at what it cost me.”
He then sold the horse to General Lee for $200 in currency, the sum of $25 having been added by General Lee to the price I paid for the horse in September, 1861, to make up the depreciation in our currency from September, 1861, to February, 1862.
In 1868 General Lee wrote to my brother, stating that this horse had survived the war—was known as “Traveller” (spelling the word with a double 1 in good English style), and asking for its pedigree, which was obtained, as above mentioned, and sent by my brother to General Lee.
The following account of ‘Lucy Long,’ another war-horse of General Lee
, appeared in the Abingdon Virginian
, of February 13, 1891:
There have appeared from time to time during the past year announcements in Southern newspapers of war-horses ridden during the war by some Confederate soldier, with the caption, “The last war-horse of the Confederacy,” or something similar.
It will be learned, doubtless with surprise by some, that there is yet living and in good health, save for the infirmities common to old age, a horse ridden in battle during the war by General Robert E. Lee.
It is “Lucy long,” a little sorrel mare, which many will recall having seen ladies ride through the streets of Lexington alongside of General Lee astride of his more famous war-horse “Traveller.”
Lucy Long was a present to General Lee from General J. E. B. Stuart in 1862, when the former was conducting the Sharpsburg campaign.
That summer George Lee was standing in a skirmish line holding Traveller.
The horse was high-spirited, impatient and hard to hold and pulled the General down a steep bank and broke his hands.
For a time he found it necessary to travel in an ambulance.
It was then that General Stuart found Lucy Long, bought her and gave her to him.
She was a low, easy moving, and quiet sorrel mare.
General Stuart purchased her from Mr. Stephen Dandridge, the owner of “ The Bower,” a country place in Jefferson county, famous in that day for its hospitality and a famous resort of Stuart with his staff when in
General Lee rode Lucy Long for two years until, when in the lines around Petersburg, she got with foal, and he sent her to the rear, and once more mounted Traveller.
She was stolen just before the close of the war, and after the surrender was found in the eastern part of the State, and Captain R. E. Lee brought her to Lexington to his father.
Several years after General Lee's death, and possibly thirteen years ago, while running at large in the grounds in the rear of the University, by some unknown means Lucy Long got the leaders of her hind legs cut. She was henceforth of no service, and General Custis Lee got the late John Riplogle, the greatest horse lover in Rockbridge in his day, to take charge of her on his farm on Buffalo.
On Mr. Riplogle's death, a few years ago, she was turned over to the care of Mr. John R. Mackay, who lives in the same neighborhood, and there she is at this time.
When purchased by General Stuart she was said to be five years old. She is probably now in her thirty-four year.
She is thin in flesh, though her eye has not lost its wonted brightness and her health apparently is good.
She eats dry food with difficulty, hence her present condition.
During the grazing season she fattens on the soft grasses of the pasture.