On May 10, 1861. Thomas J. Jackson, then a major of Virginia militia, commandeered a carload of horses and beef cattle from a train traveling between Ohio and Baltimore. It was just weeks after the first shots were fired in the Civil War and Jackson needed a horse. The one he picked was an implausible officer’s mount, a undersized horse with a gait later referred to as “shambling” and “shuffling.” But the horse was tireless, brave, and perfectly suited to the odd man who became one of the Confederacy’s great soldiers. The horse was known variously as Old Sorrel, Fancy, and , finally, Little Sorrel. The horse, too, was an unlikely hero, one whose life and memory was forever combined with his master’s.
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Little Sorrel was intended for the Union army when he was captured by Jackson’s troops. Residents of Somers, Connecticut, believe that he was foaled there, and there is some documentary evidence to support that belief. Stonewall Jackson’s Little Sorrel describes what’s known and what’s possible about his origins–where the Connecticut story came from and how it developed.
Jackson was aboard Little Sorrel when he was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville. The horse outlived his master by nearly 23 years