Justin Morgan Biography


Justin Morgan is most famous in history for the horse which founded the Morgan breed of horses. He is also less widely known, but equally respected, as a musical composer of notable talent. He composed 18th century musical rendition of poetry and psalms known as fuguing tunes or psalmody.

Justin Morgan was a descendant of Miles Morgan and born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1747. Miles Morgan was the head of one of the earliest families in Springfield. Massachusetts, originally settling in the area in the 1640’s. The Morgans are described as being “substantial yeoman farmers”. Family members became active participants in their communities frequently holding town and church offices.

Justin Morgan was the son of Isaac Morgan and his first wife Thankfull. He was the eighth of eleven children, mostly boys. Little documentation has been found of Justin’s childhood so his early life consists of much speculation. It is assumed that his life followed the same pattern as that of many other boys of the mid-18th century. He apparently received a quality education at some point in time, but where and when is not known.

In 1771 Justin was deeded a portion of his father’s barn and a small amount of land. He married his first cousin Martha Day in December 1774 at 27 years of age. His first child Martha was born in May of 1776. She was followed by six other children, two of whom did not survive young childhood.

Morgan’s occupations, as with others of that time period, appear to have been many and varied. He obtained a license to sell liquor at retail from his home and is said to have maintained a boatmen’s tavern. He described himself as a husbandman, or farmer, in the town records. He also was a stallioneer, that is: he maintained stallions at stud with the stud fees generating a portion of his income. During the Revolution Springfield was a cavalry depot for the Patriots which would created a beehive of horse activity in the area. And Hartford, Connecticut, the acknowledged horse center of the times, was located relatively close, being just down the river.

In 1782 Morgan became involved in a lawsuit concerning a runaway slave named Price Freeman. Morgan, along with his brothers, were among those in the Springfield community who helped Freeman obtain his freedom so that he might join the Continental Army.

Morgan became a substitute tax collector for West Springfield in 1784. He apparently performed his duties as he was paid by the town in 1785. He again became tax collector in 1787. Taxes were very difficult to collect during this period. This was partially due to the poor economic conditions of the times, but equally difficult was meeting the requirement that tax debts be paid in spicie (or coins).

Massachusetts law allowed attachment of a tax collector’s property and for the auction of that property if the collectible tax funds were not forthcoming. In post-Revolutionary War times, the citizens of Massachusetts were suffering financially from an economic recession and high taxes to pay war debts. Morgan apparently did not fulfill his position satisfactorily as he was summoned into court in January 1788 regarding the lack of tax receipts.

He was directed to pay the balance owed by order of the court. Whether he paid the balance due is unclear. Morgan sold his remaining property in March 1788, and moved to Randolph, Vermont. The tax collection situation has been speculated as being one of the reasons why he left Massachusetts for the then independent republic of Vermont as many others were doing at the time.

An attempt to correct the situation developed as people became more desperate and were unable to meet their financial obligations. Now known as Shay’s Rebellion, action was undertaken to prevent the Court of Common Pleas from sitting. This court was where creditors sued debtors for payment of goods and services. by preventing the court from holding session, debt collection was disrupted and civil war threatened.

The rebellion was forcefully put down. Eventually the law was changed to allow the use of neat stock and produce to pay private debts. Still later public taxes were allowed to be paid in like manner and paper currency was issued to assist people with paying their debts. another mitigating factor for Morgan may have been that his wife was a sister to Luke Day, who was the #2 man (behind Daniel Shays) of Shays’ Rebellion.

In an 1880’s interview, Morgan and his family are said to have gone to Randolph by ox sled. Once in Randolph Morgan soon became active in local affairs. In 1789 he was elected a lister and grandjuryman of the town. In 1790 he became town clerk and treasurer holding those positions for three years.

He owned and operated a tavern in Randolph Center. The relic of this tavern was burned by college students about 25 years ago. It was located virtually on the campus of Vermont Technical College. Two daughters were born to the Morgans in Randolph, but, unfortunately, his wife died ten days after the birth of the second in March 1791.

Morgan has long been acclaimed for his elegant penmanship and as a singing master. He conducted both writing and singing schools, apparently traveling widely to do the latter. He has been detected as far afield as the Susquehana River area (Wyoming Valley) of Pennsylvania and Jericho (now Bainbridge), NY. It has been speculated that he may have gone as far south as Baltimore, MD.

Morgan’s music was psalmody or fuguing tunes. This music is considered to be America’s first distinctive style of music. It has been called “America’s first original art music”. fuguing tunes are a complex musical composition that involved the theme being elaborately repeated by voices or musical instruments. They require much practice and skill to execute successfully.

By European Standards, however, the New Englanders’ attempts to compose music would have been considered rustic as it lacked the musical pattern of English anthems. In psalmody the text of the music governs its musical structure. The native New England composers were not formally educated in musicianship. Psalmody closely reflected the Calvinist Protestant religious practices of the day. The Calvinists practiced “sacred harmony” as singers of psalms. They were popular with the congregations of the Congregational and Baptist churches which dominated New England culture.

Morgan’s musical compositions are now highly regarded as exceptional, original pieces of music. The rest of his musical compositions are described as having “vivid pictorial quality” which appealed to its audience. The musicianship which created it was highly imaginative if untutored. The “Judgment Anthem” was particularly popular and contained many difficult parts which required singers of exceptional ability.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Morgan did not publish a tune books, many of which were quite thick. However, nine pieces of Morgan’s music survive today in tune books published by others. The first eight were published in Federal Harmony in 1790. The ninth piece was published later. The tune books were widely distributed and used in rural areas until circa 1810 when fuguing tunes went out of style. Many later publications often did not credit Justin Morgan as the original composer.

Fuguing tunes went out of style about 1810 and were replaced by European music which was in vogue. The native New Englander’s fuguing tunes were considered to be rustic and were frequently made fun of by the socially conscious. Although fuguing tunes were relegated to dusty shelves by the trend setters of the early 19th century, they were used in rural areas much longer. This was particularly true of rural Pennsylvania and the Southern mountain areas.

Morgan’s music continued to be used. However, it was changed over time through simplification and the musical scores roughened. They began to sound like folk tunes and, when published, were attributed to others. Not until the mid-20th century did the fuguing tunes again regain the attention of the musical world. Morgan’s music was highly acclaimed and appears to have earned a place in history that is as respected as that of his famous horse.

In addition to his ongoing musical activities, Morgan continued his horse activities. While in Massachusetts, he had owned a few mares and raised foals by the stallions he stood at stud. One of the last mares he owned was bred to the stallion True Briton the year he left Springfield, in 1788. The resulting bay stud colt foaled in 1789 was to have a profound and far-reaching effect in his role in American history.

Named Figure, the colt was advertised at stud in West Hartford, Connecticut in 1792. He was apparently taken to Randolph by Justin Morgan late that spring as he was no longer advertised at stud after May 21st. Morgan advertised him at stud in 1793, 1794, and 1795. Just when Figure passed out of Morgan’s hands is not certain.

He was no longer advertised by Morgan at stud after 1795. In 1796 he was advertised at stud by Jonathan Shepard of Montpelier, VT. However he was raced against two New York running horses in Brookfield, VT in 1796 (defeating both easily). That stretch of road is known as “Morgan Mile” to this day and is located close to the place Morgan is said to have lived near the Randolph-Brookfield town line.

Figure went on to become known as the Justin Morgan horse. To dedicated fanciers he was often simply called “the Justin”. He spent the balance of his life in and around the state of Vermont. Legends of his skills as a racing and pulling horse abound, some fanciful, some based on fact.

His most respected quality among horsemen, however, was his ability to reproduce himself and his qualities. His descendants were instantly recognizable for their distinctive look (or type). They were revered for their stamina, beauty, willingness to please, and easy keeping qualities on Vermont’s marginal hillside farms.

The descendants of Justin Morgan’s horse played a prominent role in Vermont history by serving as the general purpose horse of the farm. They served as stage horses when the Concord coach was introduced and stage lines flourished in Vermont. They also fulfilled the role of race horse on America’s early harness racing tracks.

Outside markets developed for Morgan horses in the 1830’s and 1840’s enabling many Vermont farmers to pay off their mortgages or provide school tuition for their children. The First Vermont Cavalry was mounted entirely on Morgans during the Civil War. After the Civil War the Morgan began to lose favor as it was not fast enough for short distance racing on the tracks. It lacked the height desired by many in the city markets.

In the mid to late 19th century Morgan breeding stock helped lay the foundation for other native American horse breeds. These breeds included the Standardbred, American Saddlebred, Tennessee Walking Horse, and in the 20th century, the American Quarter Horse. These specialized breeds often outstripped the Morgan breed’s ability to perform the more specialized tasks.

The Morgan horse was developed as a general purpose horse with an ability to do many tasks well. That versatility continues to stand him in good stead today for those who like a horse that can do a little of everything. The fame of Justin Morgan’s horse quickly outstripped that of his master’s musical abilities.

Justin Morgan died in March 1798 at 51 years of age. He lies buried in the Randolph Center, VT cemetery beside his wife. He had contracted consumption or lung fever (which is now known as tuberculosis). Signs of his debilitation are evident in the deterioration of his fine penmanship in the town’s records. His contributions to the musical world and equine development of the nation have been immeasurable.

Compiled by Elizabeth A. Curler (for talk at the Brookfield, VT Historical Society, 1993)

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Figure, founding stallion of the Morgan Horse breed


Figure was the founding stallion of the Morgan breed of horses and is the horse to which all Morgans are related. He was foaled in 1789 and a few years later became the property of Justin Morgan. Justin Morgan was a teacher, composer, businessman, and horseman who lived in Randolph, Vermont.

As Figure grew, his compact, muscular body and stylish way of moving impressed many of the pioneer farmers and settlers. Soon tales of his strength, speed, endurance, and ability to produce sons and daughters bearing his likeness spread amidst the small New England towns. His stud services were offered throughout the Connecticut River Valley, and in the course of his 32 years, he became known as “the Justin Morgan Horse.”

* 1789 – Figure was born in southern New England; said to be sired by True Briton (a.k.a. Beautiful Bay) out of a mare of Wildair breeding that was bred by Justin Morgan.

* 1792 – advertised at stud in West Hartford, CT by Samuel Whitman until late May, then was taken to Randolph, VT by Justin Morgan.

* 1793 – advertised at stud in Lebanon, NH and Randolph, VT by Justin Morgan.

* 1794 -advertised at stud in Randolph and Royalton, VT by Justin Morgan.

* 1795 – advertised at stud in Williston and Hinesburgh, VT by Justin Morgan; he is believed to have been leased to Robert Evans, Randolph, VT in Fall 1795 to clear land for Mr. Fisk for $15.00 per year; the horse was traded by Justin Morgan for land in Moretown, VT to Samuel Allen, Williston, VT.

* 1795 (?) – traded or sold to William Rice, Woodstock, VT.

* 1796 (?) – raced against New York horses Sweepstakes and Silvertail in Brookfield, VT (the road is still known as ‘Morgan Mile’) defeating both for a $50 stake.

* 1796 – advertised at stud by Jonathan Shepard, Montpelier, VT; Figure became known as the Justin Morgan horse; Shepard often used him in match races with great success.

* 1797 – February – traded with blacksmith shop by Jonathan Shepard to James Hawkins, Montpelier, VT for a farm.

* 1797 – 1801 – whereabouts not known.

* 1801 – 1804 – owned by Robert Evans, Randolph, VT.

* 1804 – Evans sued for debt; Colonel John Goss secured his debt with the Justin Morgan horse; Evans was unable to pay; John Goss sent the horse to his brother David Goss in St. Johnsbury, VT; John Goss traded the horse for a mare to David Goss in 1805.

* 1804 – Justin Morgan won a pulling bee at General Butler’s Tavern, St. Johnsbury, VT.

* 1805 – 1811 – owned by David Goss, St Johnsbury, VT he was worked on the Goss farm except 2 months in spring when he was on a stallion service circuit; he was known as the Goss horse.

* 1807 – advertised at stud by John Goss in Randolph, VT and Claremont, NH.

* 1811 – sold by David Goss to son Philip Goss, Randolph, VT.

* 1811 – Fall – after the breeding season the horse was sold to Jacob Sanderson, then to Jacob Langmade who used the horse to haul freight between Windsor and Chelsea, VT (?); then to Joel Goss and Joseph Rogers, Claremont, NH.

* 1814, 1815, 1817 – at stud with Joel Goss and Joseph Rogers, Claremont, NH (whereabouts in 1816 not known).

* 1817 – sold to Samuel Stone, Randolph, VT; exhibited at Randolph, VT fair.

* 1817 July 22 – parade mount for President James Monroe in Montpelier, VT.

* 1819 – sold to Levi Bean, Chelsea, VT

* 1821 – died of injury from kick of another horse on the Levi Bean Farm.


Figure is said to be sired by True Briton, a horse widely respected for his excellence and known as a sire of quality horses. He was said to have been “of the best English blood.” John Morgan (in 1846) stated that he was sired by the imported horse Traveller. whether it was Thoroughbred blood or another breed (such as the Welsh Cob) or a combination of types remains open to debate.

Figure’s dam was bred by Justin Morgan. She was, as described by John Morgan in 1846,”…of the Wildair breed, of middling size, with a heavy chest, of very light bay color, with a bushy mane and tail – the hair on the legs rather long, and a smooth, handsome traveller..” Her sire was Diamond, a son of Church’s Wild-air by Wild-air (Delancey’s) out of a mare owned by Samuel Burt named Wild-air.

Others theorize that Figure has the Friesian horse as a possible ancestor. The Friesian horse was bred and developed in Holland. This type of horse was taken to North American by the Dutch. Figure and some of his sons were often referred to as ‘Dutch’ horses. That label, however, could have referred to his being of Dutch breeding or the fact that True Briton was from New York.

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Old Abe and Clem, Famous Morgan Horses of the civil war

Old Abe and Clem

“I celebrated my nineteenth birthday” Joe Allen said to the editor of The (Atchison Kansas Daily) Globe, “by enlisting in the First Vermont Cavalry. We were in the Shenandoah Valley, under Sheilds, in the spring of 1862, but Banks was our commander then Stonewall Jackson drove us across the Potomac, and into Maryland. Then Jackson fell back, and we followed him to Port Royal, where we merged into Pope’s army, and suffered defeat with him at the second battle of Bull Run.

We were driven back almost to the fortifications of Washington, and saw the awful confusion of a fleeing army. The rear of an army, successful in battle at the front, is a scene of awful confusion, but the mob in the rear of Pope’s army at the second Bull Run was worse than a stampede of wild animals.

“When McClellan succeeded to the commands, I was on picket duty with my regiment at Drainsville, twenty miles from Washington, where we spent the winter. In the spring we moved to the front, and became part of Burnsides’ army at Fredericksburg. After that battle, where Burnside was badly whipped, Lee moved his army up the Rappahannock Valley. We followed, on the other side of the mountains, and when Lee crossed the Potomac at Williamsport and thereabouts, we crossed somewhere below Harpers Ferry, and marched almost night and day trying to head him off.

“Early one morning (June 30, 1863) we made a halt in the streets of Hanover, Pennsylvania, and were sitting on the curbstones eating the bread and meat the citizens brought us, when suddenly a battery of rebel artillery began firing at us. Before we had time to recover from our surprise, Wade Hampton’s cavalry dashed in upon us. There was a sharp fight nearly all day, but we held the town, and finally chased Hampton’s men off.

“The next day we started to join Meade’s army at Gettysburg. My impression is that we marched thirty miles beyond Gettysburg, and then marched back again, following Hampton’s Calvary. There was impression among the men that a big fight was to take place soon, but we had no idea where.

“Our corps approached Gettysburg on three different roads. I was in the middle column, and first intimation of a fight I had was encountering a field hospital, where there were two or three hundred wounded. It happened that we arrived on the battlefield of Gettysburg in the evening of the second day’s fighting, so I never saw the town of Gettysburg at all.

“We were at once moved to the right wing of Meade’s army, and when we arrived there, we struck Lee’s left wing. There was a fight lasting until 11 o’clock at night, when the rebels retired. Then we moved to the extreme left of our army, a distance of twelve miles, arriving there about daybreak, just as the third day’s fighting was commencing. We were immediately ordered to charge, and carry a line of hills, which we did, and took a position in advance of our main line. We remained there skirmishing until 4 o’clock in the afternoon, when word passed along that there was to be a charge.

“Little Round Top was almost behind us, and we charged away from it. There was a Texas regiment in front of us, lying behind a stone fence, and we charged toward it, accompanied by three or four regiments of infantry. The firing was terrific, and the infantry wavered, causing a delay of the cavalry. We started at almost the same instant that Pickett charged, and I have an idea that our charge was to draw off as many rebels as possible from the attack on Little Round top.

During the delay I have spoken of, the First Vermont Calvary was left almost alone in the exposed position, when Kilpatrick, the division commander, rode up, and had some sharp words with Farnsworth, the brigade commander, who was leading us. I could not hear what was said, but I heard afterward that Farnsworth protested against the hopelessness of the charge, saying that the First Vermont Calvary after was cut to pieces already, and they were too good men to sacrifice. Farnsworth said he would lead the charge, but Kirkpatrick must take the responsibility and then came the order forward.

“We rode at a full gallop toward the stone fence; behind which was the Texas regiment was lying. They had ceased firing, and we knew they were waiting to pick us off at closer range. Our men tried to set up a cheer as we rode toward the fence at a furious pace, but we could not do it; we were so wrought up from expecting the volley at close range.

I saw the first man that fired, a young fellow on the right, and I heard an officer curse him for firing too soon. A second later came the volley, but nearly every bullet went over our heads, as we were charging up the hill. Then there was a cloud of smoke, and rapid musket firing. For a moment we came to a halt, within a few feet of us the stone fence, while some of our men in advance tore it down, and it is a wonder that we were not all killed, but the smoke was too thick that the rebels could not take accurate aim.

“Our men had only revolvers, and it seemed to me that there were twenty musket shots to o our one. I fired five times at a bunch of rebel infantry ahead of me, but did not pick out a particular one, and do not know that I hit any of them. Finally, I saw some of our men urging their horses through an opening in the stone wall, and I followed them. In five minutes we lost sixty-five out of 312 men; every time a man near me was hit, I could hear the ‘pat’ of the bullet. I saw several of my companions cringe and start when hit and a frightened look came to their faces. A young fellow I had known all my life was struck, and he was riding so close to me that he fell over on my horse’s neck. I straightened him up in his saddle, and told him to hold on as long as he could, but he fell off the other side. His place in the ranks was on my right, and his horse remained at my side throughout the charge.

I had a pistol and a sabre; I fired the pistol as fast as I could, but I doubt if we killed half a dozen of the rebels altogether. They stood behind trees and rocks, and fired at us with deliberation and care. I chased one fellow who appeared in front of me, intending to cut him down with my sabre, but he ran, and I hurried on to join my companions. As I id so, I saw the fellow spring out from the tree where he had taken refuge, and fire at use. There was the greatest confusion, but I heard his shot, and the pat of the bullet; he fired at me and struck my horse in the neck. The horse was a big bay I had ridden ever since my enlistment, but he kept going, and I supposed the wound was not serious, although it bled freely.

“We were gone an hour on that charge. We had passed through the enemies’ lines, and were in their rear, and were compelled to cut through two hostile lines to reach our own. We kept swinging to the right, and once we were between two lines, and I could liken it to nothing but getting into a nest of hornets. It was while we were between the two rebel lines, riding at full gallop, that someone told me that General Farnsworth had fallen off his horse, and we learned afterwards that he had been killed.

“We rode at full gallop while in this perilous situation, and could locate the rebel lines by puffs of smoke. It was like running the gauntlet. A clump of trees ahead of us would look quiet and peaceful until we came opposite to it, when out would come the puffs of smoke.

“A friend of mine named Marv. Mason, who rode ahead of me, had his horse shot under him. The horse fell dead, with its nose in the ground, but Marv. Went on over its head and struck on his feet. He did not stop an instant, and kept up with the regiment on foot until he caught a horse, which he mounted, and rode safely into our lines.

“During the skedaddle, a man rode by me with his leg shot off by a cannon ball. Just above the stump some one had tied the sleeve of a coat, to stop the bleeding. I had never seen the before, and I never heard what became of him. I have often wondered who tied up his leg, and helped him on another horse, for his own must have been killed.

“At last we reached our old position, when we heard that Pickett’s charge had failed. We remained quiet until dark, everything indicating that the battle was over, when we were ordered to move under the hill, where we dismounted in a meadow, and told to get some sleep. The heaviest rain I have ever experienced was falling, and the meadow was a sheet of water. I found three rails, which kept me out of the water, and I never slept better in my life. I saw soldiers sleeping soundly that night who were half covered with running water.

“At 4 ‘O’clock in the morning we were routed out, and ordered to saddle at once. Then I discovered that my horse was too badly wounded to go; he was very stiff and could not get up. He was a great favorite in my company, as he was a particularly reliable animal, and there were many expressions of regret when I was compelled to leave old Abe behind. But there were plenty of other horses without riders, as a result of the charge the day before, and we were soon on the move. When we rode away, old Abe was still lying down, and I had no idea if he would ever get up again.

“I don’t know how we heard it, but we knew we were going in pursuit of Longstreet’s corp train, and we hurried all day toward Emmitsburg, without catching sight of an enemy. Just before night we halted for a short time, and while I was boiling a cup of coffee, I hear a cheer from some of our men, and who should come staggering into camp, but old Abe! He had followed us all day, and was just getting in. The men gathered around him, and some fed him crackers, while others bathed his wound, and did what they could for it.

“When the bugle sounded to fall in, old Abe tottered to his place in the column, but we soon started on a keen run, and left him behind. I looked back and saw him standing, gazing after us. I looked again, and he was hobbling along the road we had taken.

“In half an hour we struck the rear guard of Longstreet’s corps train, just as it was starting up the mountains. The night was dark as pitch, but we fought our way up that mountain, until break of day. Three Michigan regiments dismounted and crowded along the narrow road. Our regiment was next to charge through and stampede the train as soon as we found an opening.

“I never saw such another display of fireworks as I saw through that night. Our men toiled up the mountain, firing as fast as they could, and the rebels fell back firing as fast as they could. Just a break of day we reached a level spot on top of the mountains, probably fifteen acres, where there was a summer hotel. Here we cut our way through the rear guard and took after the wagon train.

“There were two pikes leading down the mountain, and the wagon train divided; we took the Smithburg pike, to head off and capture the wagons. The mules attached to the wagons were running away down the hill, but we had to go by them, which we did, yelling and firing our pistols. The train we were after was two miles long, and I saw twenty wagons go over the bank into the gulch below. The wagons were mostly loaded with wounded, and the scene made the stoutest heart sick. As we tore along, we could hear the cries of the wounded in the wagons; some of them were looking out, and a few of them jumped, knowing that the mules were running away, down the hill. Many of the drivers were killed by our men; others deserted their teams, and the scene was frightful. But we finally got ahead of the train, and stopped it. Then we went to burning wagons and killing the mules, except a few of the best, which were saved. The wounded were carried to the side of the road, but we had no time to look after them.

“We halted there possibly three hours, during the time hearing that the other train and 5,000 prisoners had been captured; and just before we started on again, old Abe came walking into camp! How he discovered that we had gone down the Smithburg pike, I cannot image, but there he was, and he took his place among the horses of my company. He had probably seen the fighting all through the night before, and followed his command through the woods when it must have seemed to him that every limb on the trees was shooting fire. He was not far away when the charge took place at the top of the mountain, and when we decided to follow Smithburg pike down the mountain; he must have seen sights and heard sounds that were the most terrible in the history of the war. But he came along, and passed the entire train while the wagons were being burned, the wounded jumped out, and mules killed, until he found his old friends of the First Vermont. His story came to be noised about, and dozens of men from other regiments came up to look at him, all of whom had kindly suggestions.

“At the end of four hours we were off again, and that night was at Hagerstown. I heard cheering a half mile away, and knew it was old Abe coming in. I rode over that way, and met him. He followed me to our camp, where I fed and watered him. He seemed to be getting better, but was very stiff in the neck.

“At midnight we hurried on again, leaving old Abe lying down. We were on our way to Williamsport, to burn a lot of pontoon bridges on the Potomac, and there was no long halt for several days, but whenever we stopped to rest, and snatch a bit of sleep or a mouthful of food old Abe would come in on us. Some times he would strike the pickets a mile from his regiment, but he always found his way to us with unerring certainty.

“The rebel cavalry knew we were headed for Williamsport, and knew what we were up to, and followed us. There was fighting almost every hour of the day, and half the time old Abe must have been among the enemy; he certainly came through their camp every time he found us, for we were traveling the same road, and we were in advance. But old Abe knew which crowd he belonged with, and managed to find us every night.

“Every day he got a little earlier, and for a while in the morning would travel by my side in the column, but we were making a forced march, and he would soon drop out. He was known as the “First Vermont Straggler,” and every day the soldiers of other commands would call out to us to know how old Abe was coming on, to which we replied he was coming on very well and would surely be in at the surrender.

“One night we halted at 11 o’clock for four hours, and when I awoke I was worrying because old Abe had not arrived. But when I mentioned the matter, it happened to be a soldier who had been on picket duty, and he said old Abe came along the road within ten minutes after he took his place and had spent two hours with him eating crackers out of his knapsack. Old Abe was becoming a good deal of a vagrant, and would loaf with any one of our command, although when I went out to saddle, he was among our horses.

“I think he kept with us after that, usually marching by my side, though he would break ranks occasionally and go after water, or nibble grass. Finally, at the end of the seventh or eighth day, I put my saddle on old Abe’s honest back once more, and rode him until I was mustered out as one of Sheridan’s cavalry.

“I quit the service at the end of three years, and when I left camp for good, I saw a recruit riding old Abe, and the recruit was being congratulated on having fallen heir to about the best horse in the service.”

Source; Undated news clippng from the Atchison (Kansas) Daily Globe, circa 1918

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