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Warhorse Rienzi
Birth: 1860, USA
Death: 1878, USA

Warhorse. He was the steed of General Philip Sheridan. Rienzi (later renamed Winchester) was a big gelding selected by then Col Sheridan and brought from Ohio as he began his service during the civil war. He was named Rienzi after the Mississippi town where Sheridan's troops had been encamped. He rode him over the next three years through 45 engagements including 19 pitched battles and two cavalry raids. The huge black charger taller then Sheridan, was shot many times in battle always recovering and the animal seemed indestructible. In October, 1864, the horse and his rider gained legendary status. Sheridan while spending the night in Winchester, Virginia was awakened by the sound of artillery fire from the direction of Cedar Creek, about 15 miles to the south where his troops were camped. Confederate Jubal A. Early had surprised the sleeping soldiers and overwhelmed them. Reinzi, with Sheridan aboard raced to the area finding his troops in full retreat. The general enticed his men to rally and follow him back to Cedar Creek and where Early's stunning victory earlier turned into a dismal defeat. Artist and poet Thomas Buchanan Read was inspired by news stories of Sheridan's victory and wrote a seven stanza poem entitled 'Sheridan's Ride.' Each stanza ended with the mileage to Cedar Creek, 20, l5,10, 5 and the last stanza: Hurrah! hurrah for Sheridan! Hurrah! hurrah for horse and man! And when their statues are placed on high, Under the dome of the Union Sky, The American soldier's Temple of Fame, There, with the glorious general's name, Be it said, in letters both bold and bright. "Here is the steed that saved the day, By carrying Sheridan into the fight, From Winchester--twenty miles away!" The poem was very popular and was printed in papers across the North. It was used in the 2nd term reelection of Abraham Lincoln. The poem booster the moral of the citizenry of the Union. People were weary of the war because of Union defeats. Sheridan officially renamed his horse Winchester and both were present at Appomattox Court House looking on as Lee and Grant brought the civil war to a close. The horse stayed with the general and died in Chicago which was the last command of General Sheridan. He decided to have the horse mounted. Taxidermist constructed a plaster likeness then placed and stretched the hide over the surface and the mounting was presented to the military museum on Governor's Island in New York Harbor. In 1922, fire destroyed the museum but the mounting was spared. A New York farewell ceremony took place. The Band played civil war melodies, the poem, 'Sheridan's Ride' was recited and then the many old veterans in attendance rose and gave Winchester a rousing cheer. The journey to the Smithsonian commenced under an army escort. Today, the horse is the only mounting at the Institute and is seen by thousands. In 1992, the Cedar Creek battlefield near Middletown, Virginia became a National Park. The core site of the 6th and last battle has been preserved and contains the Heater House which was the focal point of the fray, original vestiges of earth works defences and a visitor center with exhibits that explain the facets of the battle. (bio by: Donald Greyfield) 
National Museum of Natural History
District of Columbia
District Of Columbia, USA
Plot: Arned Forces History Hall (Smithsonian Institute)
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Donald Greyfield
Record added: Dec 27, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 10180165
Warhorse Rienzi
Added by: Donald Greyfield
Warhorse Rienzi
Added by: Donald Greyfield
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