The Monday Minstrel: Rienzi …. American Civil War Hero

Colonel Phil Sheridan first saw the black gelding in Rienzi,  Mississippi and named him after the town.  He rode him for the next three years through 45 engagements including 19 pitched battles and two cavalry raids.
On October 19, 1864 Sheridan and Rienzi had galloped south from Winchester toward the sound of battle. Sheridan’s troops were worn out and terrified under a fierce assault from the Confederates.  Rienzi may have been exhausted but he carried Sheridan forward and into the battle, roused the troops and led them to victory!
 This story is immortalized in the poem “Sheridan’s Ride” by Thomas Buchanan Read who also painted the horse and his rider. The horse became a national hero a much loved by all especially school children. It is  not recorded if he found the fame irksome but he was credited with assisting Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party in winning the election of 1864.
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Sheridan’s Ride by Thomas Buchanan Read , 1871. Washington DC Smithsonian Institute ( photo from Tamsin Pickeral’s “The Horse”)

4 Comments Add yours

  1. David says:

    I read about Rienzi when I was in grade school long ago. 🙂

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      I only learned of him this week! I did spend two years of high school in the US but we did not study the Civil War.

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  2. nathaswami says:

    A long lost story in the history of America.

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    1. anne leueen says:

      This week, leading up to Remembrance/Veterans Day on Nov 11, I am posting about the brave horses in the conflicts of the past. I want people to remember them because they fought and died alongside the human soldiers.

      Liked by 1 person

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