You know Traveler and Cincinnati and Little Sorrel and Rienzi…. (This is starting to sound like the beginning of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”….)
But have you heard the tale of “Old Squeezer”?
I came across this little gem the other day while reading the May 24, 1888, issue of The National Tribune. The account comes from A. Arkle of Wheeling, West Virginia, who once served in Co. I of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry:
The “Boy Spy’s” life at Carlisle Barracks, in a recent issue of The National Tribune, certainly could not be more truly set forth, and plainly shows that he was there. His description also of the horses is true to life, and especially. Old “Squeezer.” He was a terror to recruits during the years 1862 and 1863, and his name and rascally tricks were well known and talked over throughout the Regular mounted service for years. I had a hard fight with him in March, 1863, in which he nearly killed me at the picket-line one evening at “stables,” but I got him down at last on the ground and sat on his neck. All of the officers of the garrison were looking on and the commanding officer ordered “Squeezer’s” head to be tied as high as he could reach during “stables,” for punishment. His career in the Regular Army ended during the rebel raid into Pennsylvania, at the time of the burning of Chambersburg; but I have forgotten the exact circumstances. The Boy Spy’s description of the other horses and the sergeants is just as true, and will bring a smile to many an old soldier’s face in reminding them of events occurring at that time that did not make them smile a bit.
Arkle refers to The Boy Spy’s descriptions in “a recent issue” to the Tribune, but alas, Richard Sauers’s usually dependable index for the paper didn’t include a listing for “Old Squeezer,” and I didn’t have the time to go back and read back issues. That’ll be a project for another day.