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 Old Whitey

Old Whitey

Birth
Death 20 Mar 1879 (aged 29–30)
Burial Fremont, Sandusky County, Ohio, USA
Plot On the hill behind Hayes' tomb, very near the fence. Inscriptions is on a boulder and is barely legible
Memorial ID 3096 · View Source
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Civil War Warhorse. His origin is unknown. He came in the same manner as thousands of other Union horses during the civil war by quartermaster procurement. He indirectly became the property of Major Rutherford B. Hayes, destined to be the President of the United States, one of a group of horses assigned to his civil war command. Hayes at the outbreak of the civil war was appointed to the rank of major in the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He saw much active service, rising to the rank of major general. He was severely wounded on September 14, 1862, at the Battle of South Mountain. In all, in the course of his arduous service, four horses were shot from under him, and he was wounded four times. In 1864, while still in the army, he was elected to Congress (despite his refusal to campaign). However, Hayes did not take his seat until the Union had won the war. When asked to come to Washington, he replied he would, "never come to Washington until I can come by Richmond." The big white horse was given the name "Old Whitey" for obvious reasons. His color was a serious drawback in battle because it made him a very visible and tempting target for Confederate snipers. However, his amazing speed, stamina and ability to clear any fence or creek allowed him to escape unharmed over and over again. The big, white steed was the personal mount of Hayes' best friend and aide, Major Russell Hastings. Old Whitey posted heroic service in 19 Civil War battles. The luck of rider and horse ran out at the Battle of Opeguan, when a Rebel bullet found its mark, shattering Major Hastings' right leg. Unscathed, the horse carried his badly wounded rider many miles to the rear where medical treatment could be administered. From that day forward, the equine was kept at Hayes' headquarters receiving special treatment while becoming the favorite horse of now Major General Hayes. At the conclusion of the war, the general assigned one of his men to take Old Whitey to his Spiegel Grove residence, in Fremont, Ohio. He lived the good life becoming the charge of Sarah Jane Grant, the daughter of next door neighbors, who lavished special treatment and attention on Old Whitey until Spinal meningitis claimed the old warhorse at age 29 after a feeble attempt of treatment with quinine and whiskey. A telegraph was sent to President Hayes at the White House telling of the death. A broken hearted Sarah Jane was given the task of arranging a farewell and then burial of the animal on the grounds of the estate. Later an inscribed marker fashioned from glacial stone harvested from one of the Lake Erie Islands was placed to mark the grave. The site would also become the cemetery for President Rutherford B. Hayes and his family.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 24 Jun 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3096
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Old Whitey (1849–20 Mar 1879), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3096, citing Rutherford B. Hayes State Memorial Grounds, Fremont, Sandusky County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .