Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Myth of the Black Horse Cavalry--Pt. 5

To end this little set of blogs about the Black Horse Cavalry, I thought about trying to be positive about the whole thing. In truth, I probably would not have liked these fellows much. They were avowed white supremacists, fighting to uphold a way of life I think I would have despised.

That being said, the Black Horse Cavalry believed in what they fought for, and were there from First Bull Run to Appomattox. The above painting/print is by noted Civil War artist Mort Kunstler, and is called "Bravest of the Brave." It was presented to the public in 1999. It shows the BHC at Warrentown, VA on February 22, 1863.

They are escorting General Lee past the lovely Warrentown Courthouse, which has been replaced several times since 1863, but always from the original plans. It looks today much as it did back then. Sergeant Robert Edward Martin, the second rider from the right, is silhouetted against the light in the window of the courthouse.

Robert Martin was one of three Martin brothers serving in the BHC, and the two Martin sisters married BHC members. Robert was presented with a fine rifle, a gift of an admiring Englishman, as being the bravest man in Lee's Army. He thus became the "Bravest of the Brave."

Based on the knowledge that the BHC was in Warrentown during the winter of 1862-62 and constantly on patrol, Kunstler checked with James Robertson, Jr., distinguished alumni Professor at Virginia Tech for a suitable date. Robertson confirmed that there was a snowfall on February 22, 1863. The snow provides the lovely moonlight reflections that make this such a stunning piece of work.


  1. Ive enjoyed this blog entree. I appreciate the extra research to find out that the courhouse has been replaced several times with the same floor plan. And that the Black Horse Calvary were a bunch of racists. Ill have to see their history. Im going to see if they ran up against Custer. lol

  2. It's a fatal mistake to view historical figures with a modern sensitivity.

  3. I agree completely, and I try not to do that in my other writing. But here, on the blog, I figured I could be a little less formal. The Civil War was one that produced strong feelings for many. I think that is one of the things that draws me to that period of history. Plus, if I were less passionate about it, I doubt if I could "stay the course" for my Masters, and for the book. I can't imagine doing this much hard work about something for which I was lukewarm.

    Thanks for the comment, and keep reading. When I stray again, nudge me back on course!! I appreciate it.