Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/177

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Generals in the Saddle. 171

in his attire, and somewhat fond of display, but he did good service for his side of the great national quarrel, and is deservedly popular among the men of the South. One of my comrades, who saw him ride over a field while the former lay a wounded prisoner, tells me that Hampton made a splendid figure in the saddle, which he sat while on the gallop with rare ease, scarcely a swing being noticeable, despite the rapid pace. He was always magnificently mounted, and "could ride like the devil," as my friend expressed it.

Major-General Benjamin F. Butler could sit on a horse and ride without fatigue, but to the eye of a riding-master he would be a source of humor. Not that Butler was a bad horseman, but he was too heavy a man for easy carriage, while the portentous boots he always wore in the field made him look like a Dirk Hatteraick sud- denly lifted into a saddle. Whether it was his huge boots or the saturnine temperament of the man, he nevertheless rode as if the horse was a mechanical one and not made of flesh and blood. If he tried a gallop, which was seldom, it looked as if rider and steed would soon part company, for his body rose and fell violently at every stride. But Butler never prided himself on his feats of horse- manship, and active field movement was not his forte.

Major-General John Pope made himself famous in 1862 by issuing a grandiloquent bulletin to his army that until further orders head- quarters would be in the saddle. Then the reverses to McClellan began, and Pope's headquarters were kept on the steady run by Lee all through the Virginia Valley. The soldiers used to say that Pope's hindquarters were in the saddle and his headquarters nowhere. But soldiers are always sarcastic. General Pope was a fine horseman, and looked exceedingly well in the saddle.

General Sheridan did not appear to advantage on foot. In the saddle he was a centaur. When astride of a horse the Shenandoah Valley hero gained in inches, for he was longer in statue above his sword belt than below it. Sheridan always sat well back, uncon- sciously leaning against the rear pommel of his military saddle. This attitude brought his feet a little in advance of the correct line, but it did not detract much from his appearance as a horseman. The fierce bundle of nerves that were encased in his small body would not permit General Sheridan to long sit still, and he was always on the gallop, even when his army was lying idle and the pickets were silent.