Marengo: Napoleon’s War Horse

There are many mysteries and myths about Napoleon’s horses. The most famous horse was known as Marengo, who carried him to victory in the Battle of Marengo, and the legends have it that he carried him to victory in almost all his other victorious battles as well.

The Battle of Friedland by Emile Jean Horace Vernet ( 1789-1863) The battle at Friedland , on  June 14, 1807, was a resounding defeat for the Russians.

Marengo was a small ( only just over 14 hh) grey of Arabian breeding . He was wounded eight times in his career and survived the retreat from Moscow but was captured at Waterloo (June 1815) and taken prisoner by William Francis Petre who brought him to England  and  sold him to Lieutenant-Colonel Angerstein of the Grenadier Guards.  Marengo died of old age at the age of 38! Quite a long  life for a horse.

His skeleton was preserved and later passed to the Royal United Services Institute and is now on display at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London. In my opinion this is a curiously disrespectful thing to do with the skeleton of the valiant horse of a French Emperor.  The British may have won at Waterloo but somehow displaying  Marengo’s skeleton in a British army museum is not appropriate.  However if it ads to his fame and position as s great War Horse then I  suppose I can live with it.

Joseph Chabond ( 1786-1848) Napoleon on Horseback 1810.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. anne leueen says:

    Reblogged this on HorseAddict and commented:

    This is my second day focusing on the horses involved in wars. Today I am reblogging a post about Marengo, small in stature but oh my!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Aquileana says:

    This is a great post… I didn´t know much about Napoleon´s horse so I am grateful I came across this article… a very engging reading. Thank you.. Love & best wishes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. (HorseLover4Ever) Elizabeth says:

    Very, very interesting!! Thanks for sharing with us, Anne!:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You’re welcome.


  4. I agree! It does sound disrespectful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think it is a “to the victor go the spoils” sort of attitude. I know that Waterloo was a big deal in terms of battles and a victory over Napoleon was a major triumph but the poor horse deserved a better fate than being on display in an army museum belonging to the enemy of his rider. Tomorrow there will be a post about Wellington’s horse. He was asked to have his horse disinterred so the skeleton could be placed alongside Marengo. You will see what his answer was!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love the history you are sharing with us!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          Thank you. There is more to come this week! Including some history of US war horses.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I am looking forward to it!

            Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you. I will be posting about War Horses each day this week leading up to Remembrance/Veterans Day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. dray0308 says:

        You are welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

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