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Alumnus Focuses on Civil War Horses

Washington and Lee law alumnus Kent Masterson Brown, of the Law Class of 1974, wrote, hosted and narrated a film about horses in the Civil War that aired this month on HRTV, The Horse Network.

Unsung Hero: The Horse in the Civil War” discusses how the horses were procured and trained for field use, how they were fed and maintained, and the toll taken on them due to service in the field. As Kent explains, millions of horses were utilized by the armies in all theaters of war. “In the large armies, anywhere from 40 to 60 thousand horses (and mules) were used in the infantry, cavalry, artillery and quartermaster services. Regularly feeding, shoeing and maintaining the horses and mules was a near impossible task. As a result, thousands of horses were lost due to incapacity and malnutrition. Thousands more were lost on battlefields.”

As part of the film, memoirs of soldiers are read, recounting the stories and sacrifices of the horses. More than 1,500,000 horses (and mules) died during the war.

Kent highlights the story of Robert E. Lee and Traveller, featuring period photographs and scenes from the W&L campus. Some of the war’s other famous horses – Cincinnati, Winchester, Baldy, Highfly and Little Sorrel, to name a few – are highlighted. Repeat broadcasts are scheduled by HRTV through March and April 2012. You can also watch the film online with a premium membership to HRTV.

Kent is in private law practice in Lexington, Ky., but continues to research and write on Civil War topics. He is the founder and former editor in chief of The Civil War: The Magazine of the Civil War Society and has won numerous awards for his books, which include “Retreat From Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics and the Pennsylvania Campaign,” “Cushing of Gettysburg: The Story of a Union Artillery Commander” and “The Civil War in Kentucky: Battle for the Bluegrass State.”