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  • Preeminent Horses: Rodney November 30, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    Nathan Bedford Forrest… For those who have not heard of this rather frightening individual the ‘Wizard of the Saddle’ was a Confederate cavalry leader in Tennessee and Alabama, who repeatedly surprised Union commanders with his audacious charges and his clever use of dismounted riders. This post pays tribute to Forrest’s most famous horse, Rodney. But Beach should start by saying that Forrest had many mounts for the simple reason that most were unlucky. Indeed, it was Forrest’s boast after the war, that he had had twenty nine horses shot from under him in the course of hostilities, but that he had killed thirty Union soldiers in fighting, thus staying one step ahead of the enemy! Some of these perished horses Forrest used as if they were automatons. In one case a horse was injured in a neck artery and Forrest stuck his finger into the wound riding the horse hard until the lieutenant-general had finished his charge. At that moment he removed the finger, the horse folding and dying on the spot. Rodney was though a family horse and was treated better. When injured at the Battle of Thompson’s Station, March 5, 1863 Forrest jumped off Rodney and instructed his son Willy, riding by his father’s side at that moment, to change mounts and to ride Rodney back behind the lines to receive treatment. Willy did so but Roderick would not allow himself to be treated. Hearing the gun fire and seeing the hated blue coats of the enemy, he broke free, jumped three fences and reached Forrest for a second time, where he was shot again, this time mortally. Forrest, one of the founders of the Klu Klux Klan, a slave trader prior to the war, and a duellist was terrifying to his foes and yet he seemed to earn loyalty and even love from those on his side, horses included. Another steed, King Philip who had been injured riding with Forrest in the war: went to bite a group of Union soldiers who came to visit the Wizard after the conflict had ended. King Philip, like Rodney three years before, saw the colour blue and raged! Beach is always on the look out for special horses: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com