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Chewy Morsel #2: “Comet” the War Horse by William Blackford, July 18-19, 1861



For horse-lovers, here is a cavalryman traveling through the eastern Panhandle of Virginia, today West Virginia, to Manassas in July, 1861 describing his horse, named “Comet,” during a long trek:

I shared every dust-choked step of famished progress with my horse – a dark mahogany bay, almost brown, with black mane, tail and legs and a small white star on his forehead – great eyes standing out like those of a deer, small delicate muzzle – delicate ears in which you could see the veins, and which were in constant motion with every thought which passed through his mind – small and beautiful feet – and legs as hard as bone itself. . . . When I would be eating on the march his eyes would watch me, and if I did not soon lean forward and hand him a taste, he would stop deliberately and reach his mouth up for his share; nothing seemed to come amiss; bread, crackers, meat, sugar, and fruit all seemed to be relished. I could tie the halter strap to my leg and lie down to sleep while he would graze around, step over me or lie down by me without ever treading on me. Sometimes when he would lie down he would lay his head in an affectionate if uncomfortable manner upon me, and though it was disagreeable I could never have the heart to push it off. – Lt. Col. William Blackford, 1st Virginia Cavalry and close confidant of J.E.B. Stuart; from p. 22 of his book “War Years with Jeb Stuart.” published 1945 in New York City by Charles Scribner’s & Sons.

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Taken on January 20, 2016