The General’s Mount: a Poem on General Forrest’s Horse

By Jack Knox
11/19/2008 • Online Bonus

THE GALLOP warmed his blood Loosened stiff and aching muscles. Ahead, A fence, He cleared it With a mighty surge of effort. He was warm And he was running, A painful, awkward stride, But running hard To the General. THE next fence- Up and over- He almost lost his footing; But he could smell the powder now. The General smelled of powder. NOW he could see the men and horses, Nervous horses, Ready for the charge. Now he could see the General. One last fence before him And the field. He cleared it as the bugles blasted "CHARGE!" HE was racing with the shouting horsemen now. He was straining hard To reach the General’s side, Five good strides ahead. Bleeding. Straining hard. Three good strides . . . When the killing bullet hit him in the chest. THE keen ear of the General caught a sound; Inaudible, almost, against the din. Half a plaintive nicker, Half a choking scream; Like the scream of horses "bad hit" on the field. Amid the shouting and the shrieking and the fire The General heard it. He stiffened, Half turning in his saddle. And there behind him In the charge, Stumbling, plunging, dying, His war horse -On his feet, but dying In the charge. THE feared And fearless, Battle-hardened General Spurred ahead; To fight more awesome battles for his cause. But the man-the horseman- Underneath his honored uniform -Bedford Forrest- Died a little there On the field near Spring Hill, March the fifth, 1863.