During the Civil War and throughout the rest of the nineteenth century there was no star that shone brighter than that of a small red horse who was known as Stonewall Jackson’s Little Sorrel. Robert E. Lee’s Traveller eventually became more familiar but he was mostly famous for his looks. Not so with the little sorrel. Early in the war he became known as a horse of great personality and charm, an eccentric animal with an intriguing background. Like Traveller, his enduring fame was due initially to the prominence of his owner and the uncanny similarities between the two of them. The little red horse long survived Jackson and developed a following of his own. In fact, he lived longer than almost all horses who survived the Civil War as well as many thousands of human veterans. His death in 1886 drew attention worthy of a deceased general, his mounted remains have been admired by hundreds of thousands of people since 1887, and the final burial of his bones (after a cross-country, multi-century odyssey) in 1997 was the occasion for an event that could only be described as a funeral, and a well-attended one at that. Stonewall Jackson’s Little Sorrel is the story of that horse.
Sharon B. Smith was a reporter, interviewer, and anchor of televised horse sports on ESPN, NBC, and Sportschannel Los Angeles during the 1980s and 1990s. Her broadcasts included harness racing’s most prestigious event, the Hambletonian, as well as Kentucky Derby Day, Preakness Day, the Breeders’ Cup, harness racing’s Breeders’ Crown, the Arlington Million, the Santa Anita Derby, and dozens more. She wrote, produced, and anchored ESPN’s “Down the Stretch,” a weekly half hour racing news program, which won an Eclipse Award, the top honor in the racing industry. She is the author of seven books including, The Best There Ever Was: Dan Patch and the Dawn of the American Century (Skyhorse 2012), Connecticut’s Civil War (Featherfield 2009), the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Betting on Horses (Alpha/Simon and Schuster 1998), the Pocket Guide to Betting on Horses (Alpha/Simon and Schuster 1999), The Performance Mare (Howell Book House/Macmillan 1993), The Affordable Horse (Howell Book House/Macmillan 1994), and Retraining (Howell Book House/Macmillan 1998).
She has had dozens of articles published in magazines, including Hoofbeats, the official publication of the harness racing industry. She was also published in the Quarter Horse Journal, Morgan Horse, Equus, Quarter Racing Journal, and more. She was a contributing editor of Horse Illustrated for a number of years. Her websites are www.sharonbsmith.com, www.danpatchbook.com, and www.ctcivilwar.com.