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Wild West Western Facts

Horses of the West


Black Nell - Wild Bill Hickok's Horse
Black Nell died in 1870. The horse's grave marker read: "Here lies Black Nell, the most gallant heroine of the Civil War and of the Plains."

Commanche - (1862-1891) - Survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn
Commanche was famous for having been the sole survivor of General George Custer's command at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876.   Commanche was of mustang lineage, captured in a wild horse roundup, gelded and sold to the U.S. Army Cavalry in 1868. The 15 hand bay became the favorite mount for Captain Myles Keogh of the 7th Cavalry.  He was found two days after the battle by a burial party investigating the site.   Severely wounded, the horse was transported by steamer to Fort Lincoln, 950 miles away, where he spent the next year recuperating. Comanche remained with the 7th Cavalry under orders excusing him from all duties. Most of the time he freely roamed the Post and flower gardens.   When the Cavalry was ordered to Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1888, Comanche, aging but still in good health, accompanied them and continued to receive full honors as a symbol of the tragedy at Little Bighorn. Finally, on November 7, 1891, about 29 years old, Comanche died of colic.  The horse is currently on display in a humidity controlled glass case at the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Dyche Hall, Lawrence, Kansas.

Isham
Buffalo Bill Cody's white horse that he had ridden in the 101 Ranch show.

Traveller (1857 - 1871)

Traveller, An American Saddlebred, was Confederate General Robert E. Lee's most famous horse during the American Civil War.   As a colt he took the first prize at the Lewisburg, Virginia, fairs in 1859 and 1860. As an adult gelding, he was a sturdy 16 hands high and 1,100 pounds, iron gray in color with a long mane and flowing tail.  Traveller was a horse of great stamina and was usually a good horse for an officer in battle because he was difficult to frighten.  In 1870, when Lee died, Traveller was led behind the General's hearse, following the caisson with his master's boots reversed in the stirrups, his saddle and bridle draped with black crepe. Not long after Lee's death, in the summer of 1871, Traveller stepped on a rusty nail and developed lockjaw. There was no cure, and he was euthanized to relieve his suffering.

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