Winchester, General Philip Sheridan's horse during the Civil War
War heroes are not always human, and the Smithsonian has several animal soldiers in its collection, including Stubby the dog, a decorated canine veteran who sniffed out mustard gas during World War I; Cher Ami, a carrier pigeon who flew missions in World War I and was wounded in action; and a famous Civil War veteran named Winchester. On October 19, 1864, Winchester, then named Rienzi, carried Sheridan from Winchester, Virginia, to the battlefield at Cedar Creek, where the general roused his troops to repel a Confederate attack. The horse was renamed in honor of the victory, and "Sheridan's Ride" was immortalized in popular poems, songs, and artwork. After Winchester died in 1878, Sheridan had the horse stuffed and mounted, and he presented it to the Military Service Institution's museum in New York. In 1922, when these collections were transferred to the Smithsonian, Winchester received a military escort to his new home in Washington, D.C.
Animal Heroes, Civil War, Military History