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Book Overview

When the American Civil War began, it was quite possible that the only experience Jabez and William Challacombe had with horses was walking behind one as it pulled a plow. Certainly, Northern boys didn’t have the same equestrian tradition as Southern boys. They hadn’t been raised to ride high-spirited thoroughbreds on foxhunting or to have a romantic view of themselves as gallant warriors when sitting astride a horse.


From a Northern farm boy’s point of view, a horse was a beast of burden, and there was nothing glamorous about that. When they did occasionally ride on the back of a horse, it would most likely be a big docile, slow-moving cold-blooded animal with large hooves, feathered pasterns, and a sway in its back that would eliminate the need of a saddle. Their objective in riding would be solely for transportation and only because it was faster and took less effort than walking. It might therefore seem a little strange that Jabez and William would enlist in the cavalry. Probably their choice of service was influenced by a slick recruiter telling them they didn’t have to walk to work in the cavalry; they could ride. Whatever the motivation, twenty-seven-year-old Jabez and his twenty-one-year-old brother, William, enlisted for three years as privates in Company H of the Second Ohio Volunteer Cavalry Regiment.


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