Stonewall Jackson's Stuffed Horse
Little Sorrel was nobody's pretty pony. An undersized, dumpy, homely little horse, he was also the favorite mount of Confederate hero-general Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, who appreciated the chunky charger for his toughness, smooth gate, and intelligence. Little Sorrel was beloved in Dixie, particularly with Southern ladies who would clip hairs from his mane and tail to make wristlets and rings.
General Jackson was killed by friendly fire after trouncing the Yankees at Chancellorsville. In the chaos that followed, Little Sorrel was captured, then recaptured, then re-recaptured, then graciously allowed to return to the Confederacy for keeps.
For the next 20 years Little Sorrel was a hit at Southern fairs and Rebel reunions, even making a trip to the New Orleans World's Fair in 1885. His health deteriorated quickly afterward and he spent his last few months at a Richmond old soldiers home. He was so enfeebled that he couldn't stand; the Confederate veterans had to rig a sling to hoist him to his feet whenever visitors arrived. One day the sling slipped and Little Sorrel fell to the floor, broke his back, and died.
Little Sorrel's hide was immediately mounted and presented to the Virginia Military Institute Museum, where it's still a popular attraction. The taxidermist took the bones as partial payment and gave them to the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, something that never sat right with Southerners. The VMI Museum got the bones back, cremated and interred them in 1997, on the parade grounds, at the feet of a statue of General Jackson. "It's the right thing to do," says the curator.
Today, Little Sorrel stands near the raincoat that Stonewall Jackson was wearing when he was mortally wounded. The coat is displayed so that visitors can see the bullet hole.