|Lock of Robert E. Lee's Hair (left) and Traveller's mane (right)
c late 1860s
Collecting locks of hair from loved ones, especially those who had recently died, was a popular Victorian custom.
Lee owned other horses that he rode during the Civil War: Lucy Long, The Roan, and Ajax. But it was Traveller (spelled by Lee with two l’s in the English tradition) who would be most identified with him. Traveller was a nervous and spirited four year-old colt when Lee purchased him from a Confederate officer in the spring of 1862. Soon, the two were inseparable as Lee rode him through the thick of many battles.
Lee rode Traveller until the end of his life. Often, to escape the pressures of his work as president of Washington College in Lexington, VA, Lee took Traveller for long rides in the mountains. The horse that was his closest companion during war now became his instrument in finding peace. Not long after General Lee’s death in October, 1870, Traveller stepped on a rusty nail in his stall and died of tetanus. He is buried within yards of his master, just outside the Lee Chapel in Lexington.
Hair, ribbon. D 3.8 cm
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, ARHO 3564, ARHO 3565