Thursday, November 3, 2016

Booknotes: Stonewall Jackson's Little Sorrel

New Arrival:
Stonewall Jackson's Little Sorrel: An Unlikely Hero of the Civil War
by Sharon B. Smith (Lyons Press, 2016).

The horses of many great historical military figures (like Alexander's "Bucephalus") have received their own measure of fame, and the equine 'heroes' of the Civil War are no different. At least on the Confederate side, probably only Robert E. Lee's "Traveler" exceeds Stonewall Jackson's "Little Sorrel" in renown.

From the description: Little Sorrel's "enduring fame was due initially to the prominence of his owner and the uncanny similarities between the two of them. The little red horse long survived Jackson and developed a following of his own. In fact, he lived longer than almost all horses who survived the Civil War as well as many thousands of human veterans. His death in 1886 drew attention worthy of a deceased general, his mounted remains have been admired by hundreds of thousands of people since 1887, and the final burial of his bones (after a cross-country, multi-century odyssey) in 1997 was the occasion for an event that could only be described as a funeral, and a well-attended one at that."

Sharon Smith, also the infrequent blogger of New England's Civil War and author of Connecticut's Civil War from 2009, has a long professional association with horses and horse sports and likely brings a different than usual perspective to the subject. According to Smith, much of what has been written about Little Sorrel is untrue, and her book sets out to set the record straight and tell the full story of Jackson's famous mount.

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