Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Horse Named Fly

I've seen a few Civil War horses in my time, all stuffed. Winchester, for one (nie Rienzi), in the Smithsonian, and Stonewall Jackson's Little Sorrel at the museum of the Virginia Military Institute (and, as an equestrian aside, I've stood over Traveller's grave at Washington and Lee. What would possess someone to toss coins onto the grave of Robert E. Lee's horse?).

The non-Civil War stuffed horse I've wanted to see since childhood, but still have not seen, is Comanche, of Little Bighorn fame. I hope Commanche will be there for me when I find the time, but lately, ever since about 1977, Kansas has not been along the routes I've traveled.

But I digress. This post is about a horse named Fly. Bridgette Savage of Stanford, Indiana which looks to be in the vicinity of Bloomington has penned, and illustrated, a true-to-life tale based on the service of George Barrett and his horse, Fly, of the 1st Indiana Cavalry (formed from the 28th IN Volunteer Infantry). It's a book for young people, but based on the two articles I've read, here, and here, I cannot tell how young. The Christian Science Monitor piece shows some of Savage's illustrations, and I may pick up the book for the artwork alone.

But Fly is not stuffed. Fly can be seen at the skeletal level in New Harmony, Indiana (again, photo of author and subject can be seen here). In all my years in Evansville where the 1st Cavalry was raised, and where I met my Hoosier wife I never heard of Fly's bones. And in my two or three visits to nearby New Harmony, home to not one, but two full-fledged efforts at creating a utopian community, still, I saw no dead horses, stuffed or otherwise. But that's another story.

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