Sunday, June 2, 2013

Rienzi




  One of the most unusual things I saw in Washington DC was at the Smithsonian American History Museum. It was the stuffed horse belonging to General Sheridan named Rienzi. The horse was presented to Sheridan in 1862 in Rienzi Mississippi by men of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry. This horse was ridden by Sheridan in every battle of the Civil War including Stones River. Sheridan was immortalized in a poem about the battle of Cedar Creek Virginia in which he rode from Winchester to Cedar Creek rallying his men who had been routed by Confederate General Jubal Early on October 19, 1864. This ride gave his men the courage to stand and fight, eventually winning the battle. Sheridan changed the horses name to Winchester. He described Winchester as "an animal of great intelligence and immense strength and endurance. He always held his head high, and by the quickness of his movements gave many people the idea that he was exceedingly impetuous. This was not so, for I could control him at any time by a firm hand and a few words, and he was as cool and quite under fire as one of my soldiers. I doubt if his superior as a horse for field service was ever ridden by anyone".



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