Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/178

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172 Southern Historical Society Papers.

Major- General Custer was the beau ideal of a perfect horseman. He sat in the saddle as if born in it, for his seat was so very easy and graceful that he and his steed seemed one. At West Point he was at the head of all the classes in horsemanship, and delighted in being on the tanbark. It is related of him that he could cut down more wooden heads on the gallop than any other one of the cadets. Unlike most ardent raiders during the war, General Custer seldom punished his horses. It was only when the moment for charging arrived that he loosened rein for a headlong dash.

Major- General Alfred Pleasanton was an exquisite horseman, both in his dress and his manner of riding. Slightly under the average height for military men, Pleasanton would have looked boyish in the saddle but for his neatly trimmed and glossy beard. He always wore tight fitting riding boots, that came just to the bend of the knee, and he had a habit of tapping them, while in conversation, with the feminine riding whip he invariably carried in his hand, As- a cavalry leader he had few equals, despite the fact that Sheridan subsequently became so prominent in that branch of the service.

Major General Hancock looked exceedingly well in the saddle. Those who only remember him when his hair became gray can have no idea of the change in his personal appearance. During the war Hancock had a swarthy complexion, the result of being so much in the open air. His dark hair and huge goatee gave his face a look of sternness, though it was freqently lighted up by a pleasant and en- gaging smile. His figure was rather slender then, which made him seem taller than he really was. He sat on his horse bolt upright, bridle-hand well forward, and with scarcely a bend in the knee. He had usually a tall horse, which added to the imposing effect of his figure.

Major- General Logan made a conspicuous figure in the saddle. His coal-black hair and tremendous moustache gave him a ferocious appearance, though in reality his disposition was a genial one. But he often had fits of passion, and then his eyes blazed ; but these ebullitions of temper were evanescent and they usually occurred on the battlefield. Logan was an exceedingly good horseman, his seat being firm yet easy. When galloping he used to lean backward, his feet well to the front. At critical moments in an engagement he was wont to go at tremendous speed toward the threatened part of his line of battle. Then he was magnificent. His hat jammed down over his eyes, his eyes bright and his long moustache waving in the