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  • Birth 1857
  • Death Jun 1871
  • Burial Lexington, Lexington City, Virginia, USA
  • Plot Outside Lee Chapel Museum, Basement level, Lee Office entrance
  • Memorial ID 3082

War Horse, American Civil War. Traveller's Civil War history parallels his famous master Robert E. Lee. Attempts by Lee, astride Traveller, to lead battle charges were discouraged by his men who would surround him, sending him back to the rear, with shouts, "Lee to the rear," knowing the twosome would be the primary target of Union sharpshooters and his death would be detrimental to the South. From the back of his horse, General Lee directed eight major campaigns, observed battles and at times watched his men in humiliating retreats. The equine carried the General during the most of the war...Seven Day Battles before Richmond in 1862, 2nd Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Petersburg, Antietam and Wilderness-Spotsylvania but the ultimate, most humiliating was the conveyance of Lee to Appomattox for the surrender of Confederate armies to General Grant. A sad farewell trip back to his lines followed, with a Union honor guard and finally home to Richmond with shouts of encouragement from Southerner's, hats removed, lining his route. Lee's favorite horse was given at birth in Greenbrier County, Virginia, the name "Jeff Davis" and became Confederate property by usual Quartermaster procurement of horses. Officers at that time were required to furnished their own animals. In this manor, the horse came into the General's possession in 1862 with a new name, "Traveller" (spelled English style double "L"). The horse proved himself with excellent qualities necessary for a warhorse, great stamina and difficult to frighten by gunfire. However, he was not always reliable, during the Second Battle of Bull Run, the horse bolted, resulting in severe injuries to the hands of the General. Lee was forced to direct that campaign from an ambulance. Traveller was not the only horse in the General's stable. "Lucy Long" was the primary backup and remained with the Lee family passing at age 33. "Richmond" was killed during the Battle of Malvern Hill. Others were "Brown-Roan" and "Ajax." In the postwar, Traveller had a comfortable retirement at little Washington College (Washington & Lee University) at Lexington, Virginia, grazing on the grounds while General Lee performed duties as President. He was again riding Traveller, this time for recreation, with his daughter as a companion astride "Lucy Long." They sometimes with the horses, visited area landmarks such as nearby Natural Bridge. Overnight trips taking days at a time were made to various area towns. Upon the death of Lee, Traveller followed his coffin with the General's boots reversed in the stirrups. A year later, the famous horse was also dead, shot to relieve his suffering form incurable lockjaw the result of stepping on a rusty object. Legacy...After his death, the treatment and odyssey his remains traveled to final disposition near his office door at the Lee Chapel were shameful and reprehensible. Traveller was never prepared by Taxidermist, but was buried intact on the college grounds behind a main college structure. Unscrupulous persons or person, unearthed the remains, bleached the bones to enhance their appearance for exhibitions around the country. A compassionate Richmond journalist purchased the bones and after articulation, returned them to Washington College for display in Brooks Museum. (Robinson Hall). The mounting became vandalized as students carved their initials on the bones. The articulation was moved to the basement museum of the Lee Chapel for safekeeping. After many years, the bones were so deteriorated by exposure necessitating burial in 1971. What remained of the famous horse was placed in a wooden box, then encased in concrete and interred near Lee's office, a few feet away from the family crypt inside, the resting place of his master. In a bit of trivia...The stable where the horse was kept and his life ebbed away, still stands. A tradition continues to this day...the doors remain open in symbolic gesture allowing his spirit to wander freely.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 16 Jun 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3082
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Traveller (1857–Jun 1871), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3082, citing Lee Chapel Museum, Lexington, Lexington City, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .