Traveller, R.E. Lee's horse is buried just outside of Lee's Chapel in Lexington, Virginia. Hundreds of thousands of Lincoln head pennies have been left face down on the bronze plague marking Traveller's burial site. Southerner's continue to do this EVERYDAY of the year. This is a tradition begun by VMI students for good luck prior to taking a big test or an exam. VMI students firmly believed that good luck would follow them for placing a Lincoln head penny with the face down so that Lincoln would have "to kiss the ass of Lee's horse Traveller." My family always leaves the Lee Chapel by the side door at Traveller's grave so that they can pay their tribute to General Lee's horse in this manner.
Before Lee's death, the aging General Lee dictated a letter to his daughter Agnes for an artist who wished to depict his horse. No words could better express Lee's love for his beloved Traveller:
"If I were an artist like you I would draw a true picture of Traveller — representing his fine proportions, muscular figure, deep chest and short back, strong haunches, flat legs, small head, broad forehead, delicate ears, quick eye, small feet, and black mane and tail. Such a picture would inspire a poet, whose genius could then depict his worth and describe his endurance of toil, hunger, thirst, heat, and cold, and the dangers and sufferings through which he passed. He could dilate upon his sagacity and affection and his invariable response to every wish of his rider. He might even imagine his thoughts, through the long night marches and days of battle through which he has passed.
"But I am no artist; I can only say he is a Confederate grey. I purchased him in *the mountains of Virginia in the autumn of 1861, and he has been my patient follower ever since — to Georgia, the Carolinas, and back to Virginia. He carried me through the Seven Days battle around Richmond, the Second Manassas, at Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, the last day at Chancellorsville, to Pennsylvania, at Gettysburg, and back to the Rappahannock. From the commencement of the campaign in 1864 at Orange, till its close around Petersburg, the saddle was scarcely off his back, as he passed through the fire of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and across the James River. He was almost in daily requisition in the winter of 1864-65 on the long line of defenses from Chickahominy, north of Richmond, to Hatcher's Run, south of the Appomattox. In the campaign of 1865, he bore me from Petersburg to the final days at Appomattox Court House. You must know the comfort he is to me in my present retirement….Of all his companions in toil, 'Richmond,' 'Brown Roan,' 'Ajax,' and quiet 'Lucy Long,' he is the only one that retained his vigor. The first two expired under their onerous burden, the last two failed. You can, I am sure, from what I have said, paint his portrait."
~ CSA General R.E. Lee
*At the state fair in Lewisburg where I attended military school.