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 Piddig

Photo added by Donald Greyfield

Piddig

  • Birth unknown
  • Death unknown
  • Burial Fremont, Sandusky County, Ohio, USA
  • Plot Knoll, horse burial area, located adjacent to the Hayes family cemetery
  • Memorial ID 9729195

Philippine Expedition War Horse. In the 1890's the country delved into a policy of expansionism...the result was the Spanish American War culminating in the Philippine Insurrection and the Boxer Rebellion. Using the mysterious sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor as a reason for declaring war on Spain, hostilities erupted first in Cuba, Puerto Rico and finally an expedition to the Philippines where an already beleaguered Spanish force was trapped in Manilla by a Philippine independence seeking army. Allied with the rebel group for a time, the expeditionary force soon found itself at war with the revolutionary group who saw the Americans as no better than the ousted Spaniards. The war with nationals from the Islands would last almost three years with American forces led by General Douglas MacArthur. Most of the battles during the war with Spain were highly exaggerated and embellished however many Americans fought with Valor and heroism. One such officer was Lt. Colonel Webb C. Hayes. His many war horses which carried him in battles became revered and famous after stories of their heroic deeds reached the folks back home. The venture teemed with ineptness and was a major debacle as Spain was already in the process of removing troops from these regions realizing their expansions by conquest were indefensible. The hurriedly prepared American army was ill equipped for war in both men, training, equipment and supplies. Malaria, typhoid and yellow fever among the troops were far deadlier than the actual fighting. Although the horse was a major factor in the war, they suffered the most because of inexperience in placing them ashore. All the transport ships were leased and manned by civilian pilots who refused to bring their vessels close to shore. They merely dropped the equines overboard thinking they would swim to the beach on their own. They became frightened and disorientated, instead heading out to sea and were drowned. After a harrowing thirty-three day voyage, Lt. Colonel Webb C. Hayes arrived with US forces offshore near Manilla. Within hours after landing, Hayes astride a captured Spanish Army pony named Piddig (named after Philippine city where confiscated on Luzon) proceeded to Vigan, at night, through Spanish lines to gather information and then returned to his unit giving a full report. Hayes would later lead a rescue party which freed the trapped men. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery but gave most of the credit to his sure footed steed. People suggested political favoritism for the award because Hayes was the son of President Rutherford B. Hayes. However, his father was long dead and decades removed from the Presidency at the time of the awarding. Piddig was repatriated to the US and was retired to the Hayes estate in Fremont, Ohio where he was treated as a hero. The pony was a favorite around northern Ohio and often appeared at patriotic events and parades. Upon his death he was buried on the knoll, an area reserved for horses at Spiegle Grove, the estate of the Hayes family. The location is unmarked but is directly behind the grave of his master Webb Hayes.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


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  • Created by: Brent Nimmo
  • Added: 30 Oct 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9729195
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Piddig (unknown–unknown), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9729195, citing Rutherford B Hayes State Memorial, Fremont, Sandusky County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by Brent Nimmo (contributor 443) .