Rienzi ….American Civil War Hero

Today I am sharing a post I wrote previously about a horse hero of the American Civil War.

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.

Sheridan’s Ride by Thomas Buchanan Read , 1871. Washington DC Smithsonian Institute ( photo from Tamsin Pickeral’s “The Horse”)





9 responses to “Rienzi ….American Civil War Hero”

  1. MichaelStephenWills Avatar

    I enjoyed your retelling of this Battle of Cedar Creek incident.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Michele Lee Avatar

    Interesting history. Thank you, Anne!


  3. Robert Parker Avatar

    One of Lincoln’s most effective generals and he needed a tall horse so he could see what was going on during the battles, he himself was only 5‘5“.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Really! That is a very interesting bit of information. Thanks Robert.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robert Parker Avatar

        I know one other thing about him, he was born in Albany so he’s a New Yorker like me! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen Avatar

          I have shared this post to Facebook and said that readers should read the comments to learn something about Reinzi and Sheridan that I did not know. So I hope people will read and learn about the Sheridan’s height and Reinzi being a tall horse!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Neal Saye Avatar

    Fascinating, Anne! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      My pleasure Neal.

      Liked by 1 person

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