Traveller was used by General Robert E. Lee thoughout most of the Civil War. The iron gray horse was born in 1857 in Greenbrier County, which is now in West Virginia. He was first called Jeff Davis by Andrew Johnston, who raised him. He was renamed Greenbrier by his next owner, Captain Joseph M. Broun. Lee bought the horse from Capt. Broun for $200 during his late 1861 stay in South Carolina. Lee renamed his new mount Traveller. Traveller, who weighed about eleven hundred pounds and stood nearly sixteen hands high, served his master well. He outlived General Lee, and upon his death he was buried next to the Lee Chapel. In 1907 his remains were disinterred and displayed at the Chapel for a period of time before reburied on the front campus outside the Lee Chapel.
The best description of Traveller was Lee’s own, which he wrote in response to Mrs. Lee’s cousin Markie Williams, who wished to paint a portrait of Traveller:
If I was an artist like you, I would draw a true picture of Traveller; representing his fine proportions, muscular figure, deep chest, 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 suffering through which he has passed. He could dilate upon his sagacity and affection, and his invarible response to every wish of his rider. He might even imagine his thoughts through the long night-marches and days of the battle through which he has passed. But I am no artist Markie, and can therefore only say he is a Confederate grey.
Although Traveller was General Lee’s favorite horse, Lee did use other horses during the course of the Civil War. When Lee purchased Traveller, his stable already contained two horses, Richmond and Brown-Roan:
Richmond, a bay stallion, was acquired by General Lee in early 1861. The General rode Richmond when he inspected the Richmond defenses. Richmond died in 1862 after the battle of Malvern Hill.
Brown-Roan was purchased by Lee in West Virginia during the first summer of the war. Also referred to as “The Roan,” the horse went blind in 1862 and had to be retired. He was left with a farmer.
Two other horses, Lucy Long and Ajax, joined Lee’s stable after he purchased Traveller:
Lucy Long, a mare, served as the primary backup horse to Traveller. Lucy Long remained with the Lee family after the war. Outliving General Lee, she died when she was thirty-three years old.
Ajax, a sorrel horse, was used infrequently because he was too large for Lee to ride comfortably. Ajax also remained with the Lees after the war. He killed himself in the mid-1860s by accidently running into an iron gate-latch prong.