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General Robert E. Lee’s warhorse Traveller (1857–71), a gray gelding with black points, standing 15.3 hands, was bred and born in Greenbrier County. Of undetermined bloodlines but of Grey Eagle stock, with a hard trot, the always serviceable Traveller became a Confederate icon. A Mr. Johnson near Blue Sulphur Springs raised the colt under the name Jeff Davis, when he took top prizes in 1859 and 1860 at the Lewisburg fair.

General Lee first saw the horse when he took command of Confederate troops near Big Sewell Mountain. He immediately indicated his interest. After trial use and extensive negotiations, Lee later acquired the horse for $200, Confederate money. Lee called his new mount Greenbrier, but later changed the name. For the remainder of the war and the rest of his life, Lee rode Traveller as his primary horse with an American saddle from St. Louis. With his grey bleaching to white, Traveller died from tetanus in June 1871, about eight months after Lee had died. He is buried near his master, just outside Lee Chapel in Lexington, Virginia.

Written by John Edmund Stealey III


  1. Craven, Avery, ed. To Markie: The Letters of Robert E. Lee to Martha Custis Williams. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1934.

  2. Broun, Thomas. General Robert E. Lee's War Horse. Southern Historical Society Papers. Richmond: Virginia Historical Society, 1907.

  3. Rhinesmith, W. Donald. Traveller: 'Just the Horse for General Lee.'. Virginia Cavalcade, (Summer 1983).

  4. Stealey, John E. III. "Traveller." 1962.