Old Baldy, Horse Hero Head
George Meade was the Union general who defeated Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg. A crusty curmudgeon, known as "old snapping turtle," he had a special place in his heart for his horse, Old Baldy, who he mentioned frequently in letters home to his wife.
Old Baldy had been wounded at least four times when General Meade retired him. Yet he outlived the general by ten years, and even got to participate in the general's funeral as the riderless horse.
Old Baldy died and was buried outside in Philadelphia in 1882. Nine days later, two Civil War vets named Hervy and Johnston -- in a burst of belated sentimentality -- dug up Old Baldy's remains, cut off his head, stuffed it into a gunny sack, and dragged it back to their veterans post. The head was mounted and hung in a place of honor behind the Post Commander's chair.
The post eventually became Philadelphia's Grand Army of the Republic Museum, and Old Baldy is still there. He's now displayed inside a special case -- with anti-UV glass and climate control -- partly to preserve the head from decay, and party because, as we were told, he's so nose-heavy that if he were hung on a wall, he might pull the whole thing down.