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"Winchester," Gen. Sheridan's Horse
1878

"Hurrah! Hurrah for Sheridan! Hurrah! Hurrah for horse and man!"
Head slightly lifted, ears cocked, and a forehoof poised, the old campaigner almost seems to be listening for the rumble of a distant fight. "Winchester," known as "Rienzi" until 1864, carried Union General Philip Sheridan through 45 engagements during the Civil war, including 19 pitched battles and two cavalry raids. The black charger is a magnificent sight: Measuring 16 hands (5'8") at the shoulder, he stood three inches taller than his master, "Little Phil." Both horse and rider were immortalized in the 1864 poem "Sheridan's Ride." The poem, quoted above, recalled the October 1864 battle at Cedar Creek, VA, in which Sheridan's bold leadership saved the day. When Winchester died in 1878, the old war-horse was mounted and presented to the military museum on Governor's Island, NY. After a fire at the museum in 1922, an unharmed Winchester was given an Army escort all the way to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.


Learn more!
· "The Object at Hand" by John Fleischman, "Smithsonian" magazine, November 1996
· Undated description of Winchester signed by General Sheridan (transcription)
· "Sheridan's Ride" by Thomas Buchanan Read, 1864
· General Sheridan's Saddle

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