"It is by no means a pleasant thought to reflect how little people at home know of the non-fighting details of waste and suffering of war. We were in the field four weeks, and only once did I see the enemy, even at a distance. You read of Stoneman’s and Grierson’s cavalry raids, and of the dashing celerity of their movements and their long, rapid marches. Do you know how cavalry moves? It never goes out of walk, and four miles an hour is very rapid marching "killing to horses" as we always describe it."
Charles Francis Adams, Potomac Creek, May 12, 1863
It seems only fitting that while the rest of the Nation is paying tribute to those who've served our country, that the Diaries here would honor those four legged wonders who served as well. Two horses, in particular, come to mind. Comanche and Black Jack.
Comanche was a Mustang Morgan cross, purchased by the US Army in 1868. He was selected by Myles Keogh of the 7th Cavalry. Comanche was wounded several times in battle, most notably the Battle of Little Bighorn, also known as Custer's Last Stand, where he is the only known cavalry survivor. He was found two days after the battle, nursed back to health and retired with instruction that he never be ridden again. Comanche died in 1890.
Black Jack was the riderless horse that participated in more than 1000 full honors military funerals, most of them in Arlington,that included Herbert Hoover, Lyndon B Johnson, Douglas MacArthur and John F Kennedy. He was the last government issued horse, dying in 1976.
Both Comanche and Black Jack are the only two horses to be buried with full military honors (although Comanche wasn't actually buried, but stuffed and is standing in the Kansas University in Lawrence.)
Interesting Tidbit: Did you know that the 3 Day Event was a test of military skill? In the past, civilians could compete in dressage or jumping at the Olympics, but the 3 Day combined training event was for military personel, where they showed how their horses were able to move from dressage to cross country, then back into the show ring after a long days work for stadium jumping.
More interesting websites regarding horses in US history: