The Adventures of Hawkins’ Horse
When the 4th Brigade of the Union forces began their march from
the landing at Chantilly on their 12 mile trip to South Mills, Col. Rush Hawkins
of the 9th New York Zouaves was the only mounted
officer. He commanded the 4th Brigade, composed of the 9th
Somewhere along the route to South Mills, Lt. Col. Kimball of the 9th NY severely sprained his foot and lower leg, making it difficult for him to keep up. Col. Hawkins surrendered his horse for Kimball to ride and walked the rest of the way to the battlefield alongside his men.
During the Zouave's famous charge,
Kimball was the only mounted officer involved. His horse was wounded and fell,
pinning Kimball temporarily. The horse scrambled to its feet and ran off into
the woods to the right, where it was found and tied to a tree, presumably by
members of the 51st
The following article appeared in the
"Once an officer was seen advancing, sword in hand, on horseback, at the head of his column, cheering and urging his men on. On they came - on, nearer and nearer, until within half musket range, when some of our boys singled him out and took deliberate aim. They fired and a black horse was seen riderless galloping from the spot. We have since learned that this was Gen. Reno."
They were mistaken. The officer was Lt. Col. Kimball.
In the unfinished regimental history of the 3rd
According to 9th NY Private John N. Gray, "Another volley comes, and our brave Colonel is wounded; and the horse which the Lt. Col. rode is shot through the shoulders, barely missing the rider, and becomes unmanageable."
Adjutant George Shorkley of the 51st
No further report has been found as to the fate of the horse.